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Friday, June 1, 2012 - 2:45pm

Senator Don Balfour Faces Ethics Scrutiny

The state Senate Ethics Committee will move forward with a complaint against the chamber's third most powerful lawmaker after concluding "substantial cause exists" that he violated the Senate's per diem policy.

The committee met in closed session for more than three hours on Friday before announcing they will seek to negotiate a settlement with Rules Chairman Don Balfour. The Snellville Republican has been a Georgia lawmaker for more than two decades. If no settlement is reached, the committee will hold public hearings.

Balfour is accused of improperly seeking reimbursements for conducting official business on days when lobbyists reported buying him meals and other perks far from the state Capitol.

In a statement, Balfour says he hasn't yet "been allowed to go before the committee" to defend himself but expects to be vindicated.

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