Panel faults ex-Ga. congressman on ethics

  • Follow Latest News

ATLANTA - Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal may have violated House ethics rules by using his congressional office to pressure Georgia officials to keep an inspection program that funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into his auto salvage company, a congressional panel concluded.

In a report released Monday, the Office of Congressional Ethics also found that Deal exceeded the limit on outside income he may earn as a member of the U.S. House.

The alleged violations may never be confirmed, however, because Deal resigned from Congress earlier this month before the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct could complete an investigation. Deal has said he resigned to focus on his gubernatorial campaign.

Harris Blackwood, a spokesman for Deal, blasted the conclusions of the nonpartisan office as "a political witch hunt fueled by Democrats" who think the ex-congressman from Gainesville would defeat Democratic favorite Roy Barnes in the race for governor in Georgia.

"Nathan Deal did nothing wrong," Blackwood said.

Congressional investigators found that Deal made at least $75,000 in 2008 in outside income, well over the limit of $25,830.

But Blackwood chalked that up to "an innocent accounting error" and said Deal had corrected the last three years of tax returns after learning of the mistake.

The report also alleges that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, also of Gainesville, refused to cooperate with congressional investigators who sought an interview. Cagle helped Deal coordinate meetings with state Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham, who was proposing to change the way the state inspects rebuilt salvaged vehicles.

The report recommended that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the U.S. House subpoena Cagle to get him to talk.

"Today's report conveniently omits the dozens of interactions between my office and the OCE. We have voluntarily taken an active role in an investigation that we are not even the subject of and furthermore conducted by an organization that exercises no jurisdiction over state constitutional officers. Simply put, we've given them everything we have to give them," Cagle said in a statement Monday.

The allegations against Deal were first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2009.

The congressional report describes how Deal and his chief of staff intervened with state officials in 2008 and 2009 on behalf of his auto salvage business, Recovery Services Inc. also known as Gainesville Salvage and Disposal.

The company's no-bid contract with the state earned nearly $1.5 million from 2004 through 2008. Graham was seeking to open the inspection process up to introduce more competition.

Deal has ended his relationship with the state.

The Washington-based watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, which effectively acts as a gatekeeper, conducting preliminary ethics investigations.

The office in its report released Monday recommended that the congressional standards and conduct committee launch an investigation of Deal's activities. Deal resigned before the committee could move forward.

Melanie Sloan, CREW executive director, praised the office for releasing its findings and suggested the Justice Department should pursue a criminal probe.

"Mr. Deal shouldn't be able to dodge responsibility for his misconduct by hightailing it out of Congress before he could be held accountable," Sloan said in a statement.

Deal is one of seven Republicans running to replace Sonny Perdue, who is prevented by term limits from running again.

Comments (10) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 03/29/10 - 08:51 pm
0
0
Ugh... www.votemonds.com

Ugh... www.votemonds.com Let's try something different in November.

Many Arrows
-1
Points
Many Arrows 03/29/10 - 09:40 pm
0
0
Deal wants to blame his

Deal wants to blame his troubles on 'Librul' Democrats, but fails to note that the Office of Congressional Ethics investigation and report on Charlie Rangel, Democrat of NY resulted in Rangel's getting fired as Chairman of Ways and Means Committee. How does he call this same outfit investigating him as biased.

Deal was in Congress 19 years. Do we here in Georgia really want his DC politics in the governor's mansion.

There are 3 other good Republicans in this race who have nothing to do with Washington DC crookery and I say pick one of those to vote for.

If Deal is the GOP candidate, the party is as corrupt as the Democrats.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 03/30/10 - 01:43 am
0
0
Rangle "temporarily resigned"

Rangle "temporarily resigned" his post. He wasn't fired or didn't quit. He'll resume his duties as soon as the heat is off. Deal still isn't the answer when there are other choices. Roy Barnes isn't a choice.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 03/30/10 - 05:37 am
0
0
Ox is just a crooked, Handel

Ox is just a crooked, Handel is okay (know her personally) but let us down with ballot access and diebold. Which repub is going to work?

disssman
6
Points
disssman 03/30/10 - 07:08 am
0
0
Deal is the poster child for

Deal is the poster child for the CONS. And isn't Cagle a model politician for refusing to talk to investigators about his involvement. Oh hurry november, I feel a change in the air.

justus4
113
Points
justus4 03/30/10 - 07:55 am
0
0
See how that works...caught
Unpublished

See how that works...caught red-handed, but resigned, and all is well. Wow! That's called institutional corruption which key players always use, leaving the average citizen saying, "I never knew they could get away with that." So until these folks start going to jail, like U know who, this is just another day at the office.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 03/30/10 - 08:19 am
0
0
It's a good thing that Sonny

It's a good thing that Sonny can't run again. He hasn't turned out as strong as I had hoped this term. Guess we need someone new. But Sonny is a good Vet, and a pretty good person. Chalk this one up to bad economic timing. Handel is my choice right now.

themaninthemirror
0
Points
themaninthemirror 03/30/10 - 08:37 am
0
0
I just hope we get a true

I just hope we get a true Republican and not another RINO, as Perdue has turned out to be.

jack
10
Points
jack 03/30/10 - 12:50 pm
0
0
disssman Tuesday, Mar. 30

disssman
Tuesday, Mar. 30 8:08 AM
new

* Report

Deal is the poster child for the CONS. And isn't Cagle a model politician for refusing to talk to investigators about his involvement. Oh hurry november, I feel a change in the air.
--Rangel and Geithner both make fine lib poster chillen for tax cheats. At least Repubs resign but not Rangel, Clinton, et al.

jack
10
Points
jack 03/30/10 - 12:49 pm
0
0
Justus, is "you know who"

Justus, is "you know who" referring to Charles Walker by chance?

DMac_357
1
Points
DMac_357 03/30/10 - 02:41 pm
0
0
Deal should just drop his

Deal should just drop his Gubernatorial aspirations. This allegation is going to hang over his head all the way through the election. The timing looks bad when he resigns after the investigation is announced. It seems like Deal wanted the contract all to himself and between him and Cagle, talked Graham out of opening it up for more competition. Seems like Cagle has some explaning to do as well and if he won't talk, make it reflect at the ballot box.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Daniel Field removes trees, lights structures in airspace

Daniel Field, managed by operations company Augusta Aviation, has spent more than $30,000 conducting land surveys, removing 30 trees and installing red blinking lights on top of the Newman Tennis ...
Search Augusta jobs