Posted: 5:48 pm Friday, April 4th, 2014

Gov. Deal faces political fallout from ethics verdict 

By Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal’s camp has been trying to distance itself from the problems facing the ethics commission for months. The jury’s verdict on Friday makes it a lot harder to do that.

A victorious Stacey Kalberman greets state prosecutors after she won a $700,000 jury verdict in an ethics trial.

Deal’s political opponents pounced minutes after the jury sided with Stacey Kalberman, the former head of Georgia’s ethics agency. Kalberman claimed that she was forced from office because she aggressively investigated complaints stemming from Deal’s 2010 campaign.

First came word from former Dalton Mayor David Pennington:

“Nathan Deal’s abuses of power, ethics flaws, and strong arm, good old boy politics no longer have a place in our state. If we, Republicans, actually want to defeat Jason Carter this November, we must ensure an ethical conservative is on the top of the ticket. I am the proven Conservative who can defeat Carter.”

Then Democrat Jason Carter chimed in with a statement and later a fundraising appeal:

“This whistle-blower trial opened a new window into the unethical culture of Gov. Deal’s administration,” Carter said. “Between this trial, the ongoing federal grand jury inquiry, and the new revelations that the governor used his official taxpayer-paid staff to advance his private business dealings, it is clear that this governor doesn’t think that the rules apply to him.

Superintendent John Barge goes the farthest.

“The Governor is in the middle of all this mess. This is yet another example of the reason why Georgia ranks dead last in the nation in public integrity. It is time for the Governor to step aside, settle for one term, and let us get Georgia back on track.”

We grabbed Deal on the subject earlier this morning, and he mostly dodged questions about the pending verdict by saying he wasn’t following the case closely.

“I think that the judicial system handles issues like this very well, that’s what we have the courts for,” adding that he doesn’t think it would have a political impact. “They try to drag me into it, I have no involvement whatsoever.”

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson offered a bit more after the verdict was announced:

Today’s verdict involved an internal dispute between former employees and former commissioners of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, which is a body that operates independently of elected officials. There’s a reason no member of the governor’s staff was called to testify: because there’s no connection to this office.

After the most exhaustive review of such a case in Georgia history, commissioners last year ruled that the charges levied against Deal for Governor lacked merit. Those decisions are rendered by the commission members, not commission staff, after exhaustive study. As such, who the commission employed as staff had no relevance to the Deal for Governor case.

On Robinson’s point about no Deal staffers being called to testify, it’s not for lack of trying. Deal was subpoenaed to take the witness stand, but prosecutors objected and a judge quashed it.

Expect to hear more – plenty more – from Deal’s rivals about this ethics trial in the months to come. Two other similar lawsuits from former ethics officials mean the story likely won’t soon fade. Democrat Greg Hecht is calling on his rival, Republican Attorney General Sam Olens, to appoint an independent counsel to probe the agency. And then there’s the question of where the $700,000 will come from.

Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson floated this idea:

“Not only should the current chair of the ethics commission step down, but Governor Deal should pay the $700,000 jury award to Stacey Kalberman from his campaign account.”

 

224 comments
TomGaff
TomGaff

LOOKBEFOREILEAP - So if I say black folks in my conversation that makes me a racist? So if a black person says a white folks in his conversation, that should make him a racist too? Can't have it both ways, what is good for one is good for the other! No special treatment for one over the other! Seems reasonable to me?

luludog
luludog

The very fact alone that this hurts Governor Deal politically  will mean that this jury verdict and civil judgment will be appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals or Supreme Court where Deal and his Republican cohorts have made sure most seats are occupied by Republican judges and justices. See what happens there. Might we then not fairly assume now that this verdict will be wiped out on appeal? No matter what?

TomGaff
TomGaff

Sorry folks, on an earlier post I said Gov Deal said Georgia taxpayers would be paying $2.5 million over 10 yrs for expansion of Medicaid. My mistake, he said $2.5 billion instead, which makes more sense why they declined the expansion! Too much Georgia money without raising taxes or cutting back on other vital services! I approve this message!!

Tincup
Tincup

Well, you can't say the voters ddn't know what they were getting.  They knew and still voted for the (R).   And, so it goes. . . 

TomGaff
TomGaff

BuckheadMan - Don't like to say boy to a grown person. But that is just me. Kinda disagree, private sector jobs fuel the economy not public sector. Most Americans want smaller govt, which means less jobs there. If we have to offer tax incentives to attract businesses, so be it. Jobs for the people is the most important issue for me!

TomGaff
TomGaff

Bernie 31 - How can anyone in their right mind agree with your ramblings. You Dems should be so ashamed. Don't let the door out of Ga hit you in the butt. California is a good place for you to roost!

Starik
Starik

The real IRS scandal is that political non-profits get away with "non-profit" status. Non-profits should be fully taxed, just like businesses and individuals. 

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

Deal is still safe. He is on track to win the primary by double-digits. Barge is a loser and nobody knows the other guy in the race.

Carter will make a good showing in the general...in the end, though, conservatives prefer corrupt Republicans to (D). Georgia is still not ready for progress. Maybe, after another 4 years of failure it will be.

TomGaff
TomGaff

Bernie 31 - You seem full of hate for Cons? Would you rather have a job created for you or want the govt to support you from cradle to grave?

TomGaff
TomGaff

It seems like every time someone says black folks or white folks, he becomes a racist. On the blogs they hide behind their little sur name! For about 40 yrs as a Viet Vet & Lawdog, I served with folks of all races. Never seemed to have a problem, it is only when you get on blogs from AJC does it seem to matter. Why want you admit it, black folks support the black candidate(Obama for example, 90-95%) of the time. White voters tend to vote white candidates but some times cross over. Some of you folks must not reside in the REAL world? LOOKBEFORELEAF - to respond, the US employment rate is around 12-13%, as millions of unemployed have simply gave up on job opportunities. As for the Medicaid issue, in today's AJC, Gov Deal said it would cost Ga taxpayers $2.5 million over 10 yrs for  expansion. It would be either raise taxes(which Georgians do not want) or cut funding in other programs like education, public safety, etc? He goes on to say he believes in economic development(create JOBS) where people are better equipped to support themselves and their families, than rely on govt welfare programs. He said it would have a severe impact on funding on public education. I believe him and will support his positions. I hope most Georgia tax payers do also, instead of us turning into a welfare State!

TheMunn
TheMunn

Yeah, that's what will do we'll put put some left wing demigods in control 

dreluv
dreluv

Georgian are finally waking up Nathan Deal is the biggest crook and he don't care nothing about Georgian..He suppose to help all Georgian..But when you heart poor people it will come back to hunt you..Nathan Deal could you ask Georgian question who going to pay that $700,000 lawsuit for the mess you involve with..

It time to vote Nathan Deal out.

dreluv
dreluv

These racist people on here showing they true color of Georgia..What does President Obama got to do with what dirty mess Nathan Deal have put Georgian through, Just get over president Obama is the president you all probably have dreams about Obama.

Nathan Deal must be voted out of office.

Bernie31
Bernie31

Surely All have seen the ad being presently run by local Atlanta 11Alive, concerning The Honesty and Truthfulness of Governor Deal. Never in My Life in this Goober State, have I ever seen a local Television Station, call out a sitting Georgia Governor as a LIAR, Dishonest and a Cheat. Up Close & Personal.


There is Blood in the Water........


Karma is just around the Corner.....and Boy she is PISSED!

LostGoat
LostGoat

deal going down in this election---take it to the bank.  in 2016---hillary win easily!@

Starik
Starik

So, avoiding tax increases and being pro-business is what the people want? How 1932.. Some folks want a little more, and might increase taxes to get it. I'd like to see some leadership in the legislature, a cessation of $700,000 payments to ex-employees from lawsuits, better schools...Medicare expansion, State money for Grady, and better and more efficient government.  

TomGaff
TomGaff

Look this may sound bad but it is the real world. Carter and Nunn have no real shot! Black folks showed up in great numbers to elect Pres Obama, they will not do that for the white liberal Democratic candidates! Deal(while not perfect, no one is other than Jesus), is a good man and appears to be doing a decent job. He is not raising taxes, constantly getting new businesses to GA, really emphasizes JOBS, JOBS and more JOBS! Yes, if the State raises taxes, they could do more things but the public does not want taxes increased. They want the State to live within it's budget, something the Federal Govt refuses to do!

GABorn
GABorn

John Barge for Governor - return Integrity and Honesty to the office of Governor.

td1234
td1234

Governor Barge has a nice ring. John Barge has more integrity in his little finger than Nathan Deal has altogether.

******************

So true. It is a very rare instance in our political class that a politician will go against his own party on principle (opposing the charter school amendment) and give up a easy re-election to take on an incumbent governor in his own party because he believes so strongly over the plight of our children.

Sad thing is that most people either do not know this or do not care.

td1234
td1234

@Georgia_Bob  Only if it is in the primary. If Deal makes it to the general elections his winning margin will be between 5% to 10%. He won 4 years ago by 10%. 

Bernie31
Bernie31

@TomGaff - Ya Goober..if any one who needs to be shown the Door is You and yer Governor. I hope you catch that commercial on 11alive and you will see and hear far worse.

uh...huh.


Bernie31
Bernie31

@TomGaff - Your thinking represents the kind of thinker who supports Governor Deal and his imaginary "Good JOB" he thinks he is doing. The rest of Us can see the color of his Teeth this is one GOOBER, who Hates from his tiny dark little Black heart of coal. His face has the word "EVIL" on full display at every sighting. Not Good!

Bernie31
Bernie31

@TomGaff - No Tome No hate just Not Buying your Racist commentary that exposes you for the Racist you truly are. But then again we are in Georgia. where such  attitudes and beliefs is now considered an ART form of practice.

Proudly in Brazen Ignorance.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

Offering tax breaks to create jobs is no different. At least with public works projects the government does pay 3 times the labor market rate for the creation of one job.

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

@TomGaff The simple facts are, that under this Governor, $2.1 billion in tax breaks and subsidies have gone to business, yet Georgia today has a quarter million jobs less than when the Great Recession began. Half of those jobs that haven't been restored came from the public sector, and federal Stimulus funds were used to balance the budget. Looks to me like this Governor and his Republican cohorts have been great for the so-called "job creators", not so much for job creation and not at all for public services.

td1234
td1234

@dreluv  Well you better do it in the primary or it is not going to happen. 

td1234
td1234

@dreluv  If you do not understand how Obama is tied to the election in Georgia without it being a "racist" issue then you my friend are hopeless. 

TheMunn
TheMunn

@dreluv  do you know what the definition of racist is????? Look it up so you don't look ignorant.   Have a nice day.

td1234
td1234

@Bernie31  Yes, and all the people in Atlanta, Dekalb and Clayton are going to listen to the ads and vote for Carter and Nunn in the general election but it will not matter because the rest of the state will vote for the Republican and he will win. 


If the Democrats were smart then they would vote in the Republican primary and retire Deal. 

TheMunn
TheMunn

@FoSho  If that happens life in these United States will be totally destroyed. If there is anything left after this clown BO leaves office. He will go down in history as the WORST president ever.

TheMunn
TheMunn

@Starik  Where is this money suppose to come from? To many takers, not enough givers.

td1234
td1234

@Starik  Well you would definitely be in the minority as to what the people of Georgia wants. Less Government, less taxes and pro business. 

Point
Point

@TomGaff Are you one of the "black folks"?  I don't believe you are based on your posts.  So my question to you is how do you know what the black folks are going to do or how they are going to vote?

Bernie31
Bernie31

@TomGaff - Governor Deal a GOOD MAN? What Planet are You from URANUS? Governor Deal is man spirited and Hateful SOB. His love is not for All of the people of Georgia. Only those who will serve his Sick minded needs and way of thinking. 

Any Man whom would deny the most vulnerable among US, being Children,Seniors,Disabled,Mentally Handicapped and Veterans the most basic means of survival the access to affordable Healthcare is NOT a GOOD and DECENT MAN. 

Such a Man is best described as being one who is without Wisdom and Understanding of the basic priinciples of the Christian Church. A teaching whose basic concept is based on the premise of " Do Unto others, as you would have them, Do unto You and Love Your Brother as You Love Yourself."


Nathan Deal would NEVER..... deny the needs,wants and desires of Nathan

Deal anything...least of ALL Healthcare and Food.

SueEllenEwing
SueEllenEwing

@TomGaff Geez, you live in a fantasy world.  By the way, the so called "Black folks" vote was not the only vote to elect the president to office.  Stop listening to Faux news.  

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@TomGaff  

Ignorant post

GA unemployment rate is 7.1% v.s. US unemployment rate of 6.7% 

Deal has denied health insurance coverage to 1.9 million GA residents by refusing expansion of federally subsidized Medicaid benefits.

He has attempted to block having citizens gain access to insurance market exchanges.

He tried to override the 14th amendment.

He resigned from Congress to avoid being hit with ethics charges which would damage his chances for election to Governor.

And "black folks", you racist moron are not the only liberals or Democrats in this state.


Bernie31
Bernie31

@GABorn - Unfortunately, John Barge is not mentally prepared nor have the Wisdom of Leadership, Quality of expertise, thinking and Skills to lead the  State Of Georgia in the direction of Growth,Equality and Prosperity for ALL. 

John Barge is a Follower and not a Leader....even a Blind Man can see and understand that one.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@td1234  

Barge is all over the map when it comes to Charter Schools and Common Core.

It'd be easier to make a judgement if the man would put a stake in the ground.

Shifting positions on key educational issues is NOT a sign of integrity.

Right now he reminds me of the Charles Durning character in the musical about a brothel in Texas

PappyODeal
PappyODeal

@td1234 Whats this td? You been eatin' mah fried chickin' an' this is how youah gonna' do me now?  Gimme ahnudda' chaince plueazze!  Ahm gonna' have Chip Rogers put togetha' a nice hoe down complete with a guest appearance by the Froggy Bottom Gals an' broadcast it on GPB.


Why ah ain't even opened up my legit wauh ches' yet not ta' menchin' mah Pacs. Thas' whar' the Reeeeal Deeeeeahl is if you catch mah driff.  Ah chickn' in every pot dontcha' know ;) 


Don' leave me hangin' cuz ahm good, good, good to mah friends but ahm hell on mah enmies. WTH even if they sue me the state pays em. ISS GOOD TO BE DA KING!

JAWJA
JAWJA

@td1234 @Starik  Less Government, less taxes, pro business? Isn't that what got Georgia where she is now? Dead last in everything but crooked politicians.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@Point @TomGaff- Tom is one of those know it all GOOBERS who know nothing beyond his front door and fox news.

TheMunn
TheMunn

@LookbeforeIleap @TomGaff  accusing. You look ignorant when you speak of  people are racist because they are black they must be democraps. You also need to look up the definition of racist. You look ignorant when you know not what you speak. Have a nice day.

td1234
td1234

@LookbeforeIleap 


Yes, Please let Carter and Nunn run on Obamacare and supporting Obama. 


I saw an ad for Nunn this morning and she was advocating her work with Bush. She does not want to get within 300 miles of Obama.

GB101
GB101

@LookbeforeIleap @TomGaff  Deal did zero, absolutely nothing, to block access to insurance market exchanges.  Georgia, along with many other states, did not choose to form a state-run exchange.  The ACA gives the states the option of forming and running their own exchanges, but it is not mandatory.


The law provides that in states without state-run exchanges, the federal exchange will operated.  That is exactly what happened in Georgia.  The federal exchange began operating on October 1.  


Deal did nothing and did not attempt to do anything to block access to this exchange.

td1234
td1234

@LookbeforeIleap @td1234  


Charter schools: He is in favor of them as long as they are approved and run by the local BOE's. That position has not changed in 4 years. 


Common Core: We need a set of common concepts that all STATES agree upon but the curriculum and standards should only be developed at the state level. I will give you that this have view has evolved over time.   

Point
Point

@GB101 @LookbeforeIleap@TomGaff

Deal and friends made it as hard as possible to find out info about the ACA.  Obstructionists is how they described it. Yet many Georgians signed up.  The GOP is out of touch and won't admit it.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@td1234 @LookbeforeIleap  

Oh but he did.

Per Politifact GA:

"Barge’s opponents say proof of his flip-flop lies in his answers to a 2010 campaign questionnaire by the Georgia Charter Schools Association, an advocacy group.

It asked whether Barge agreed with the statement "I support House Bill 881." His answer: "Strongly agree".

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@td1234 @LookbeforeIleap 

He supported HB 881 but then backed off what 881 would have accomplished.when the Supreme Court nullified the commission.


Don't get me wrong, I think he was right to do so, but I'd feel better if admitted and explained his reasons for changing his mind.

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