Governor Nathan Deal agreed to pay several thousand dollars worth of fines to settle several ethics complaints. The state ethics commission dismissed the other complaints against him.
An investigation by the ethics commission staff found a total of 53 violations—so-called “technical defects” in Governor Deal’s campaign finance disclosure reports. He was fined $50 per violation.
The commission dismissed three complaints against Deal, including a charge that raised questions about how the governor’s campaign paid for a private aircraft.
Governor Deal’s attorney, Randy Evans, describes what he calls the ‘Catch 22’ with campaign costs:
“If the schedule is higher or lower, it either looks like you’re subsidizing your campaign or you’re taking money out of the campaign and the only way to address that is to hit it right exactly to the penny, exactly what the cost was.”
Ethics watch dog groups, like Common Cause’s William Perry, were disappointed the commission did not recommend hearings on the complaints:
“Because up until now, there could be no comment because it was an ongoing investigation, and so all of the sudden, the investigation is ended the case is closed. So it leaves us scratching our heads and left with a lot of questions.”
Another complaint alleged Deal accepted campaign donations that exceeded limits. Deal refunded $130,000 of those contributions before the election.
Deal’s attorney said that he is relieved that this “contentious process” is over.