Posted: 12:00 pm Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

After ethics case, Nathan Deal questions who gets ‘whistle-blower’ status 

By Greg Bluestein

The ethics lawsuit that rocked state government was filed under a special whistleblower provision that granted the former head of the state watchdog agency legal protections. The governor suggested Tuesday he wants to more narrowly define who can file these types of lawsuits.

Deal said that the $1.15 million award granted to Stacey Kalberman, which he said was a “very high judgment,” renewed his concerns about a recent Georgia Supreme Court ruling that broadened the definition of whistleblowers.

He said he was particularly concerned that the court’s ruling automatically granted whistleblower status to government employees charged with investigating state agencies and employees.

Said Deal:

“It’s certainly something that I think we need to look at – the circumstances that give rise to giving whistle-blower status to people who are charged with investigations. If that is the definition of who’s entitled to be a whistleblower, than you have the inspector general’s office and you have the ethics commission, all of whom by the very nature of their job description, make them investigators. If by that job description we’ve automatically made them whistle-blowers, then that’s something that ought to be investigated as well.”

Kalberman claimed in her lawsuit that she was forced from office because she too vigorously investigated complaints involving Deal’s 2010 campaign, and a jury in April agreed after a week-long trial. Deal has said throughout he has nothing to do with the ethics agency and its inner workings.

The governor said as he was leaving to attend a board meeting that he hoped to have a “discussion” with lawmakers about narrowing the definition for who can bring these types of complaints.

An aide said tightening the definition of whistleblower could be included in a broader overhaul of the ethics agency that Deal unveiled shortly after the Kalberman verdict. One possibility could be excluding a range of state employees from bringing these complaints.

Democrat Jason Carter, Deal’s challenger in November, said any changes to the whistleblower definition would lead to a “weaker ethics law” and lead to more corruption.

“The key to avoiding this type of settlement is less misconduct – not fewer whistleblowers,” he said.

Check out the full story here.

47 comments
anothercomment
anothercomment

Persons at all levels of government and corporations need to be able to file whistleblowers. People at higher levels tend to know what is being covered up.

This clearly demonstrates that Deal is such a Sociopath that he has no moral compass. He clearly wants out of the mere $135k Government job, so he can move on to the private sector and make millions like Sonny. With Carter up 48-41 before he made this foolish statement the polls should have Carter over 50% soon. This is Republican Leaning Rassmusan pole.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

It wasn't that she blew the whistle, Nate, it was that she was RETALIATED AGAINST.


All you gotta do is the right thing--a concept that seems difficult for some reason.

treyrivers
treyrivers

Ethics is defined as the moral principles of conduct which govern individual or group behavior not individual or group behavior  that govern ethics( or  the moral principles of conduct). Nathan Deal's latest approach to ethics, regarding elected officials, primarily himself, is much like a guilty offender who wants to change the rule of law to sandbag the witness(es) including duly appointed officers of the law who dare to examine or speak the truth in the court of public duty. Another way to look at his approach would be like that of the created who, when things go awry because of their conduct and behavior, wish to change the rules and overturn the standards of ethics set by the Creator. Were one a Christian, one could call it sin in its original form.

tomkat1111
tomkat1111

I sure Deal does not like whistle blowers . Maybe he should modify his behavior so he won't have to worry.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Deal should pay the judgement,  he caused it.

DS
DS

Here's a suggestion for Governor Deal: rather than restricting who can be a whistle-blower, why not stop committing ethics violations that make whistle-blowing necessary?

Nah, that would never work. Not how Deal rolls.

I hope the ethics investigations and trials continue to root out the truth. We'll never get government officials to act ethically if we don't keep a close eye on them.

GMFA
GMFA

So Milton Man it sounds like you more upset that AJC is talking about Deals Ethical problems than you are about his ethical problems. Interesting.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

When Roy Barnes was cramming cons into districts in the northern part of the state and had his redistricting maps thrown out by the GA supreme court we heard absolutely nothing from the libs writers of the pathetic AJC.  When a con like Deal is involved we hear about it ad nauseum.  This support being thrown behind Jason Carter and Mary Nunn by the AJC will not help them one bit.

AvailableName
AvailableName

Typical Deal - get rid of the incentive for a "range of state employees" to bring government wrongdoing to light.

linuxfanatic
linuxfanatic

90 minutes and still no response from the usual GOP partisans. Sad.

NWGAL
NWGAL

The Republican/conservative solution to changing demographics is to make it harder to vote. Now the Republican/conservative solution to corruption is to restrict who can be a whistleblower?

linuxfanatic
linuxfanatic

The state GOP could have headed off these problems by nominating Handel instead of Perdue in 2012. Ironically, back then Handel was distrusted by the state GOP because she was considered a moderate; a big city woman that was too close to and too friendly with the (black) leadership of Fulton and Atlanta. Handel worked with them to get things done rather than (race) bait, inflame and get nothing of importance accomplished like Jan Jones, Ed Lindsay and who can forget Mitch Skandalakis, who ran for lieutenant governor on the platform of "kicking Atlanta's (expletive)" and making broad corruption charges left and right while he himself was committing federal crimes. Ironically, had Handel been more like those guys, she would be our governor today. 


A bigger irony: after being tagged a "moderate that conservatives could not trust" 4 years ago, now she is considered a very conservative Tea Party favorite to the right of Perdue and Kingston. So, voters opted for those two because they were "more electable." How did Handel go from being too moderate for governor to being too conservative for senator? Beyond simply looking for an excuse - any excuse - not to vote for her, you tell me. But in 2020, either Perdue or Kingston will be just as vulnerable as Deal is now, and if the Dems can get a better candidate than Nunn even more so.  


Maybe soon the state GOP will learn their lesson and stop nominating mediocrities and quit using whatever excuse exists to keep people out of their little club, and instead start opting for the strongest candidates. In the meantime, they are left with A) calling everyone who mentions Deal's ethics issues a biased liberal and B) looking forward to the riveting runoff between the Dollar General CEO (not someone from the tech, pharmaceutical, finance/banking, energy etc. sectors that runs for Senate in other states but low-end retail, whoopee!) and a back-bencher primarily known for bringing home earmarks. How exciting ...

honested
honested

Apparently, nathan is incapable of internalizing the definition of ETHICS.


This would suggest the only way to prevent whistleblower lawsuits is to outlaw whistleblowers!!


Decades of progress toward transparent, open government is being wiped away by two consecutive crooked administrations.

NWGAL
NWGAL

I believe California, generally considered a liberal state, is instituting a non partisan group for redistricting. This should become the norm in every state. When either Democrats or Republicans control all aspects of a state government for many election cycles, the result is an environment ripe for corruption and inertia. Competing for seats is good for all citizens.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

Having to show an ID in order to vote is a bad idea???  How about writing a check?  Checking out a book at the library?  Buying alcohol?

linuxfanatic
linuxfanatic

@NWGAL


Voter ID requirements are not the same as poll taxes and literacy tests. And for all the talk of GOP vote suppression (a canard that originated because of Gore's loss to Bush) nonwhite voter turnout has increased every year, with some of the largest increases being in states that adopted the toughest voter ID laws (like Georgia). Claims of voter suppression are just devices used by the left to manufacture outrage and turn out the base. 

honested
honested

@linuxfanatic 

How much did handels 'endorsement' from the tundra tart and the wicked witch of the west cost?

She 'became' conservative because that's what the low information vote was buying.

Laurie1113
Laurie1113

@linuxfanatic Handel became to conservative for me when she jumped on the GOP campaign against women.  That crap she pulled with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood put a permanent dark mark on her reputation.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

Honest govenrment under the libs????  Roy Barnes says hello.

linuxfanatic
linuxfanatic

@honested


Your first two lines were EXCELLENT. Your last line: HORRIBLE.


1. Honest government was NEVER associated with Democrats when they ran this state for 100 years.


2. Since their control over government was absolute, why did they need "decades of progress"? They could have simply passed it at any time. That they did not is evidence of 1.


3. Oh yes. Nearly all the Georgia GOP, including Perdue and Deal, are former Democrats. Perdue was a Democrat right up until he quit the party and ran for governor as payback over being passed up for a leadership post and/or a committee chair because he failed the Dem ideological purity test on abortion (and also because he wasn't much of a political strategist or policy guy, as his 8 years as governor showed). So see #1 and #2. 


It is revealing that this post has been up for an hour and no responses have been made by the usual partisan GOP suspects. But please do not pretend as if the Georgia Democrats have ever at any time been ethical. If anything, they were as bad as the Dems in South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas on ethics while being somewhat better on education and infrastructure and much better at creating/drawing jobs. The main problem is that with switching from the Dems to the GOP, the former Dems are still as bad on ethics as they always were but have lost their positives on education, infrastructure and economic development (though to be fair Deal is at least better than Perdue on those 3, not that it is saying much).

Mr_B
Mr_B

@NWGAL I believe that the California redistricting board is made up of five R's, 5 D's and four "non-aligned" voters.  It's a fantastic idea, which means that our current crop of politicos wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. 

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@MiltonMan So, let's make it necessary to show an ID to vote absentee!  Of course, it is mainly Rs who do so around here, and I bet most places as well.  Wait in line?  Not them!  Just send them a ballot and Rush et al will tell them who to vote for.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

Please show us, Milton, where in the Constitution the right to write a check or buy alcohol or use a library is guaranteed. 

NWGAL
NWGAL

Reducing the number of days and hours available for early voting ensures that people who work with inflexible hours or are working parents have vastly more difficulty voting. The problem with voter IDs is the same problem with obtaining a drivers license. The wait is long, the hoops are numerous and it costs money. We should be making it easier for people to vote, not increasing the difficulties. That less than 20% vote in an election should be a national shame.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@linuxfanatic

Voter ID requirements are not the same as poll taxes and literacy tests.

Not intended to be a factual statement.

NWGAL
NWGAL

So reducing the amount of time allowed for early voting is manufactured outrage? In conservative world it is reducing costs pure and simple? Right.

linuxfanatic
linuxfanatic

@Laurie1113 @linuxfanatic


Laurie1113:

That is why you dislike Handel, but these are GOP primary voters that we are talking about here. You are aware that both Perdue and Kingston are pro-life?

linuxfanatic
linuxfanatic

@MiltonMan

Roy Barnes had no ethics scandals. His issues were policy (gerrymandering etc.) not ethical.

PoliticalOutsider
PoliticalOutsider

Milton man

Let's deal in facts rather than conjecture. Refresh my memory. When was Barnes the subject of a federal grand jury criminal investigation? When was a judgement entered against the State by a whistle blower lawsuit aledging misconduct by Barnes? When did Barnes enter into a business deal with the State's largest tax debtor? In fact, Barnes' net worth was $4 million LESS when he left office than when he went in. His blind trustee wasn't as good as Deal's who took him from bankruptcy to millionaire in only 2 years.

So, answer those questions with facts, or give me some factual proof Barnes was corrupt.

honested
honested

@linuxfanatic @honested 

They were Democrats (dixiecrats) to get elected then, they are republiklans to get elected now. 

So the level of honesty will follow the people not the party.

The distaste among modern repugs for modern Democrats is more about WHO the individuals are and to a lesser degree their policies are concerned more with the lives of other individuals rather than protection of wealth, that is a major thorn in the side of modern repugs.

So yes, the people are different and the NEW Democrats are much more concerned about ethics and less wrapped into how much money is in it for them.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@linuxfanatic 

1. Honest government was NEVER associated with Democrats when they ran this state for 100 years.

Democrats? Yes.

Conservatives? Yes.

Just remindin'.

anothercomment
anothercomment

I could vote for the dead 90 year old woman who used to live in my house. She died in 2010, by absentee ballot. I have attempted to inform Fulton numerous times to no avail. It is obvious that is how she voted. The neighbors have told me she had to back her car down the driveway to get the mail. She didn't make it to the second floor in years, which is wear the showers were. ( sponge baths) . Now they told me she had meals on Wheels delivered, yet I have discovered the Estate still owns valuable Investment property out of state ( valued at several million dollars). I was told that she had to have voted recently or she would have been removed. So she must have been a good reliable Republican vote ( as that is what the neighborhood is). So either she voted absentee or a child is still voting for her.

anothercomment
anothercomment

Luckily, my 88 year old mother does not live in this State. She lives in a State that does not require ID's. My sister made her surrender her Drivers license because she is a danger on the road, as are most people who are her age. She has voted in the same precinct since she was 30, she lived in the precinct all but 10 years she lived in Conn to work over 60 years ago. No one has proofed her to buy liquor for at least 50 years. One can certainly tell that she is over 21. if Not her younger sister and brother own the liquor store in town. Her sister knows she is 17 years older than her. My mothers passport is probably expired since her last trip to Europe was in 1991 when I took her and my Aunt, they couldn't manage alone or drive a rental car. My father wouldn't even go then. The spelling on her name doesn't match that on her 1925 Birth certificate. So this white old lady and many like her are exactly those who loose their right to vote when these ID rules are in acted.

anothercomment
anothercomment

My 19 year old daughter could not get to the Primary last week. During college break she spent last Tuesday working from 5:30 until 2:00 working at a coffee shop. Then she had to shower, change and pick up from school the two kids she is the Nanny for. She then had to take them to baseball games and practices until 10:30 p.m. Why is she working so much, because Deal cut the Hope Scholarships to 90% or less and the GA Regents ( aka political appointees like Hank, who are clueless, keep raising tuition beyond what the cost of living is and what anyone is getting as raises 1% if we are lucky. These same Politicians don't want to raise the minimum raise either. A college student can no longer come close to earning tuition by working the summer and part- time jobs.

linuxfanatic
linuxfanatic

@NWGAL


I agree, reducing the amount of time allowed for early voting was done to reduce the number of Democrat voters.

CJKatl
CJKatl

@linuxfanatic @MiltonMan The courts expressly stated what Barnes tried to do was NOT gerrymandering. It was an attempt to circumvent the will of the people. It was an attempt to steal the government. Again, the courts were clear that it was NOT gerrymandering. It was also not a simple policy issue. It was, perhaps, the most disgusting act any politician could have attempted. It's the kind of thing common in non-democratic countries. 


This in no way excuses, explains or justifies Deal's issues. It's not a contest. Are you really trying to excuse Barnes' behavior by saying it's not as bad as Deal's, or visa versa? Both are examples of how elected officials should not behave. Neither should ever be granted governmental power again. Unfortunately, it looks like Deal will. 

Acidic
Acidic

I never thought of Carl Sanders or Jimmy Carter or George Busbee or Joe Frank Harris or Zell Miller or King Roy as corrupt or crooked.  I often disagreed with all of them (particularly Joe Frank), but they weren't obvious crooks in the fashion of Perdue and Deal.

honested
honested

@linuxfanatic @Kamchak 

Hey, I tried to be 'PC' while ray-gun was President and only refer to him as a slobbering old fool when he had done something to really deserve it.

No matter how well you behave to cons, they always expect more.

linuxfanatic
linuxfanatic

@Kamchak @linuxfanatic


Which makes the obsessive raging hatred that Dems had against Reagan then and still have to this day even more unjustified, right? The left hated Reagan in the 1980s as much as the Tea Party hates Obama today. Or have we forgotten that? 


And my point still stands. Joe Frank Harris and Zell Miller were government guys ... expanding government and increasing spending with QBE and Hope. They WERE NOT "big government is the problem and to solve these problems get government out of the way" conservatives like Reagan.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@linuxfanatic 

 I maintain that the Dems were not that conservative.

I maintain that Reagan would be labeled a RINO today.

linuxfanatic
linuxfanatic

@Kamchak @linuxfanatic


I maintain that the Dems were not that conservative. They were not left-liberal progressives, mind you, but they certainly were not Reagan conservatives. Nathan Deal, for instance, had a consistent center-left voting record as a Democrat but adopted a center-right voting record when he switched parties. Zell Miller was center-left on virtually every issue but crime when he was lieutenant governor and governor. Remember the governor's race between Miller and Andrew Young? Young actually ran to Miller's RIGHT. Miller countered by running to the LEFT of Young by pointing out that he supported the "lottery for education" and that Young, as a preacher, would veto it (taking a fiscal AND social liberal position).  And Miller was actually to the right of Joe Frank Harris, whose entire agenda was QBE, and Max Cleland. 


I guess you can say that Georgia Dems were conservative to a degree on race, but even there not really. Georgia conceded the end of Jim Crow without the nonsense that went on in Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina. No attempts to end affirmative action via legislation or ballot initiatives were ever proposed. Even the Atlanta-baiting was much less back then: consider how the Georgia Dome and the Olympics bid was fully and universally supported and funded with no opposition whatsoever ... such would be unthinkable now. 


Sorry. That is a dog that just won't hunt. The Dems did a better job governing, but  it was despite their ethics issues.