Jason Carter continues ethics attack on Gov. Nathan Deal at Paine College

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 8:47 PM
Last updated Thursday, July 17, 2014 1:45 AM
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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter continued his attack on Nathan Deal’s ethics Wednesday after greeting convention goers at a CME convention at Paine College.

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Jason Carter, a Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, talks to reporters after addressing the annual conference of the 6th Episcopal District of the CME Church.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Jason Carter, a Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, talks to reporters after addressing the annual conference of the 6th Episcopal District of the CME Church.

The state’s delay in releasing a 2012 memo appearing to show an attorney and staffer for Deal tried to interfere in an ethics complaint investigation against the governor “proves once and for all that the governor’s office was involved in the coverup,” Carter said.

The memo, an account of text messages and a phone call between Holly LaBerge, the executive director of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, and Deal chief of staff Chris Riley and chief counsel Ryan Teague, wasn’t released to attorneys during two whistleblower lawsuits settled by the state. The lawsuits were filed by former commission employees.

“They fired the two women that were investigating it, and then they bullied their handpicked replacement to make sure it stayed secret,” Carter said.

“So I’m concerned, as all taxpayers would be, that the taxpayers are going to be left with the bill for the wrongful termination of the first two women, and then they’re going to be left with the bill for the taxpayer-paid employees in the governor’s office who were interfering in the investigation on behalf of the campaign, probably illegally, and then the taxpayers that still are left with no answers,” he said.

In a correspondence with the commission obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, LaBerge attorney Lee Parks said she was making the memo public now to save her job and reputation and expose waste government waste associated with the settlements. Parks said LaBerge had already provided the memo to the commission and Attorney General Sam Olens.

Carter, an Atlanta state senator and the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, has called for the establishment of an independent ethics commission with a budget that can’t be cut by the legislature or governor. On Wednesday, he called for a new probe into the ethics complaints against Deal, which targeted his use of campaign donations to pay legal bills and for travel on private aircraft owned by a company in which he had a partial ownership interest.

Olens issued a statement Tuesday that he hadn’t released the memo because it wasn’t “responsive to the discovery request” filed in the whistleblower lawsuits, but that nothing was improper.

Deal attorney Randy Evans said the memo proved the contentious nature of negotiations between the ethics commission and the governor and showed the commission or LaBerge gave Deal no free pass. The commission dismissed the more serious complaints against the governor and Deal paid $3,350 to settle the rest.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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iaaffg 07/17/14 - 05:28 am
another piece of garbage

another piece of garbage politician. lowest form of scum known to mankind. this one is a real bottom feeder, going to this event to drum up votes and rile the masses, typical maneuvering for these moochers and blood suckers. and, by the way, why is he at a convention hosted by a religious organization? what kind of 'religious organization' is this cme, anyways? another bunch that pees on your leg and tells you it's rain. oh, and just wondering: was ole jase the only white person at this gathering?

Bodhisattva 07/17/14 - 06:14 am
It's Nathan that could use some churchin'

That's why he left Congress, to dodge an ethics investigation, and started where he left off immediately when he got back to Georgia. Even close to half the GOP tried to tell everyone he was a crook. I guess our first poster doesn't vote at all since he's against all politicians in his rant. And, please tell us why it makes a differnce that he's the only white person in the picture, and what differnce would it make if it was the only white person at the gathering? I've been the only white person at get togethers before, I never knew there was something wrong with it. Could you please explain what IS wrong with it?

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