ATLANTA -- Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols began criticizing his fellow commissioners for being too cozy with lobbyists even before he took office.
“I am uncomfortable taking admission, taking tickets to sporting events from those that I regulate,” he said.
Yet, using official Public Service Commission letterhead, Echols went straight to the Augusta National Golf Club to request two complimentary practice round tickets to this year’s Masters, long after tickets had been distributed to one of the world’s most prestigious golf tournaments through a lottery system, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
After more than a week passed without a response, Echols informed the club that he planned to do some regulating.
Echols has since said that he should not have asked for the tickets because of the “appearance of impropriety.” Experts say Echols’ letters broke no laws but agree there’s a concern about appearances.
“It’s clear that he’s trying to use the office as if there’s some royal entitlement to complimentary tickets,” said Emmet Bondurant, an Atlanta lawyer whose specialties include ethics cases.