Originally created 06/26/02

Ethics official advises candidates



Ted Lee, the director of the Georgia Ethics Commission, would rather spend time with candidates now - before he has to deal with them in an ethics hearing.

"We specialize in keeping people out of trouble," he said. "It's much less work for everyone if someone doesn't come in with problems."

In what has almost become an election-year tradition, Mr. Lee spent two hours Tuesday discussing expenditures, contributions, financial disclosure statements and other intricacies with hopefuls and election officials.

"All the questions you have today, you need to direct at him," said Columbia County Election Superintendent Deborah Marshall, who planned the event at the Evans Government Center.

Mr. Lee focused on two main items - the financial disclosure form and the paperwork listing any property or business interests of the candidate. He also touched on several changes to elections laws, including a new form that requires disclosure within 48 hours of any donation of more than $1,000 between July 1 and Aug. 20 for the primary and between Oct. 26 and Nov. 5 for the general election.

He also encouraged candidates to pick up a "candidates' manual" - a publication listing examples and specific directions for forms.

"A lot of the things we are not going to have time to talk about today are in here," he said.

State House candidate Barry Fleming said the seminar was very informative.

"It confirmed a lot of the things I suspected," he said.

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115, or jbsmith@augustachronicle.com.