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Monday, June 4, 2012 - 1:06pm

'Substantial Cause' Balfour Broke Rules

There is “substantial cause” to believe State Senator Don Balfour of Snelville violated Senate rules regarding travel and per-diem payments.

The Senate Ethics Committee ruling that may lead to a settlement.

Balfour, the Republican chairman of the powerful Rules Committee, is accused of billing the state for mileage while out of town on lobbyist-funded trips. Balfour has said he reimbursed the state for minor mistakes and re-filed the correct paperwork.

Balfour issued a statement saying, "I still have not been allowed to go before the committee and defend myself. When I do, I am confident the committee will understand that a senator who gave up thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded pension benefits had no intention of doing anything wrong in a matter of a few hundred dollars."

Under Senate rules, if public meetings are held, they would be similar to a trial, and Balfour would be allowed to present a defense. The rules give no indication of what a possible settlement would involve in terms of punitive action.