Fleming ranks high in salary, expense

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ATLANTA --- State Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, received payment for the second-highest amount of taxpayer money -- $40,099 over 157 workdays -- of all House and Senate members during 2007, according to a Morris News Service review of lawmakers' expense records.

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Rep. Barry A. Fleming, R-Harlem, can bill taxpayers for his overtime.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Rep. Barry A. Fleming, R-Harlem, can bill taxpayers for his overtime.

That's in addition to the $17,000 salary all state House and Senate members receive each year.

As House majority whip, Mr. Fleming is one of roughly a dozen lawmakers with the power to bill taxpayers for work beyond the 40-day session and days for committee work for which all lawmakers can request per diem payments. He used officials days 95 times in 2007, according to state records.

Mr. Fleming has the job of discussing and overseeing all legislation his party members consider introducing, and in 2007 was the chairman of a special committee that investigated a senior judge's handling of the long-delayed trial of accused courthouse killer Brian Nichols.

It's just part of the job, said Mr. Fleming of the extraordinary number of working days for which he sought reimbursement.

"When you're in leadership like me, it will soak up every ounce of time you give it," he said.

Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, tallied the most in per diem and expense reimbursements in 2007, spending $41,032 over 152 days, according to state records. Mr. Mullis, the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, did not return calls seeking comment.

For the amount of work they do as part-timers, Georgia's legislators -- the good ones, at least -- aren't being paid too much, said Bill Bozarth, the executive director of the government watchdog group Common Cause Georgia.

"I've never believed the issue with any of our elected officials is that we overpaid them," Mr. Bozarth said.

One issue of concern, Mr. Bozarth said, is that lawmakers from metro Atlanta receive the same $173 per diem as those from far-flung portions of the state.

But metro Atlanta lawmakers pay income taxes on their per diem payments, while others are not required to.

The Augusta area is also home to another high-ranking House member, Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, who used $35,781 in tax money over 113 working days in 2007. Sixty-two of those days were related to crafting the state's spending plan via the House Appropriations Committee, which he heads.

With sway over where the state directs it money, Mr. Harbin was also the target of lobbyists, who spent $7,027.82 on him in 2007, including tabs for at least 70 meals and $1,650 in lodging expenses from Phillip Jennings Turf Farm, according to State Ethics Commission records.

2007 EXPENSES AND LOBBYING

LAWMAKER EXPENSES AND
SALARY
VALUE OF GIFTS
FROM LOBBYISTS
Rep. Jon Burns, R-Newington $39,092.96 $1,251.12
Rep. Mickey Channell, R-Greensboro $45,550.19 $5,761.63
Rep. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta $41,833.63 $4,654.28
Rep. Barry Abbott Fleming, R-Harlem $57,099.87 $5,960
Rep. Gloria Frazier, D-Hephzibah $39,626.57 $554.79
Sen. Johnny Grant, R-Milledgeville $44,308.04 $561.18
Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans $52,751.84 $7,027.82
Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta $37,855.28 $282.51
Rep. Sistie Hudson, D-Sparta $38,590.39 $204.98
Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling* $11,575.19 $102.61
Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta $40,083.48 $277.48
Sen. J.B. Powell, D-Blythe $38,078.60 $231.64
Rep. Barbara Sims, R-Augusta $40,534.51 $1,763.69
Sen. Ed Tarver, D-Augusta $40,969.41 $818.76

*Mr. Jackson was elected in a special election and did not serve a full term in 2007.

Note: House and Senate members had until Tuesday to submit 2007 expenses for reimbursement, so final figures might vary.

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 04/16/08 - 06:14 am
0
0
Salary from lobbyists? Is

Salary from lobbyists? Is that the reason intelligent action seldom comes from the state congress? The selling of your vote is not only legal, but is claimed as income?

pofwe
5
Points
pofwe 04/16/08 - 06:20 am
0
0
Is that all it takes?

Is that all it takes? Lobbyists can buy our legislatures for $102.61 - $7,027.82. I wonder where these lawmakers' loyalty lies with their lobbyists or to their constituents?

DeborahElliott2
4
Points
DeborahElliott2 04/16/08 - 07:14 am
0
0
I don't know, but I am

I don't know, but I am tempted to pay for a lobbyist position just to get my way in the government! Maybe if we all pitch in, they will lower the prices of everything????

Brad Owens
4096
Points
Brad Owens 04/16/08 - 07:35 am
0
0
This is no accident of a

This is no accident of a story. A hit piece like this means that Barry is not the choice of the Morris News Empire for Congressman Broun's seat. OR they are etting it out there early so the damage can be midigated. I think that all you guys running down Rep. Broun ought to take a good LONG look at the facts surrounding this story. Want to know what type of Congressman Fleming would be? The best money can buy. At least he seems to know how the game is played, maybe he would be a good member of congress after all. Or at least he would fit in REALLY well.

Little Lamb
43401
Points
Little Lamb 04/16/08 - 08:06 am
0
0
Sounds like Fleming and

Sounds like Fleming and Harbin are two public "servants" who have learned to milk the system for all it's worth. They are the poster children for term limits. I've been enjoying the "John Adams" series on HBO. I don't see much of Adams in Fleming or Harbin.

noway
201
Points
noway 04/16/08 - 09:39 am
0
0
This story is gross. It's not

This story is gross. It's not a "HIT". If you multiply these salaries out over the course of a year, yes, they make more money than most people and they receive money from lobbyists? That's just wrong. They are not public "servants" at all. And most of these people make quite a bit of money already in their regular jobs. It's just gross. People don't go into politics to "serve the public", they go in to make more money. Politicians are greedy and power hungry.

politicsisaspectatorsport
0
Points
politicsisaspectatorsport 04/16/08 - 10:15 am
0
0
This story is misleading as

This story is misleading as legislators don't receive a salary from lobbyists. So what was the money spent on that is listed as a 'salary' from lobbyists?

rufus
2
Points
rufus 04/16/08 - 10:25 am
0
0
Are they suggesting he sit on

Are they suggesting he sit on his butt and not do his job?

Glascock1
0
Points
Glascock1 04/16/08 - 10:25 am
0
0
Fleming's campaign is on life

Fleming's campaign is on life support anyway.He has almost quit showing up for appearances and hasn't updated his website in almost a month.

godsglorygirl
0
Points
godsglorygirl 04/16/08 - 11:32 am
0
0
It kills me to hear you

It kills me to hear you naysayers! GOOD legislators are not paid what they are worth. It is not a 9 to 5 job. THey sacrifice alot to go up to Atlanta and make decisions for our community! I bet you would not do what they do for what they make! YOu are just trying to push your canidate! They are not only there during session. Thier job is all year long. Barry Fleming is an effective Legislator as is Ben Harbin for Columbia County! They both work hard to get our area what we need to thrive! Columbia and Richmond needs Barry Fleming in Washington!

426Hemi
0
Points
426Hemi 04/16/08 - 11:36 am
0
0
I see this as a salaried

I see this as a salaried pitcher on a major league ball team:
1 million in salary, and 75 million in endorsements, appearances, and such. No, we don't see our gov't employees as being overpaid, but bet you 10-1 that most are millionaires, through various ventures. They're in the business to make a buck like everyone else, and help themselves as well. What better way than through politics? 17K? Chump change to them, but not bad for a part-time job. A good Rolex costs that much.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 04/16/08 - 11:46 am
0
0
Note the differences in

Note the differences in lobbyist contributions. Is that because they spend more on the ones they can buy or is their seat and interest therein the key? Just seems fundamentally wrong, but none of these pirates locally or D.C. is going to remove an income.

Brad Owens
4096
Points
Brad Owens 04/16/08 - 01:13 pm
0
0
The true telling part of this

The true telling part of this is that they DON'T have to file for the cash. They CAN and DO. I wonder how many of these days could have been phone or internet conducted meetings instaed of pay and per-diem?

Glascock1
0
Points
Glascock1 04/16/08 - 01:51 pm
0
0
What ever hapened with

What ever hapened with Harbin's DUI case?

GSneed
0
Points
GSneed 04/16/08 - 01:55 pm
0
0
Have you noticed that they

Have you noticed that they ALL "hover" around $40K...?! Coincidence, maybe? LOL.

JimCox
7
Points
JimCox 04/16/08 - 03:53 pm
0
0
These numbers are for the

These numbers are for the last 2 sessions. I was concerned when I saw them, however I made a call or two and found out that the totals are for the 2007 and 2008 sessions combined. In the hard copy of the paper the headers read "Expenses and Salary" and "Value of Gifts from Lobbyists." Evidently the webmaster jumbled things a bit.

luv2scrapbk
0
Points
luv2scrapbk 04/17/08 - 12:04 am
0
0
Brad Owens, so nice of you to

Brad Owens, so nice of you to over look Hardie Davis' name on the list and the $4K in lobbyist monies he received. So typical.

nahali
0
Points
nahali 04/17/08 - 08:09 am
0
0
Broun's as bought and paid

Broun's as bought and paid for as anyone. His campaign manager was touting all his DC fundraisers yesterday. I can in no way see how $6000 totals to the tens of thousands of dollars he's raked in for political action committees in the recent months, so let's be honest about who is selling their votes. It's one thing to report it as income or gifts and then not make a big deal about it. It's totally another to say you're an outsider, claim that the big bad Washington insiders are against you, and then go running to them for cash for campaigns. It's a simple fact that some state reps work above and beyond their days in the legislature, and from that list, I can only assume that the vast majority of them are working to make the state run well. Good for them - all of them - for putting in extra hours.

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 04/17/08 - 09:34 pm
0
0
Oh, please! How about Broun

Oh, please! How about Broun spending tens of thousands of our money to send us the SAME stupid "informational" mailer EVERY STINKING WEEK for the past month and a half? That's NOT a campaign expense???? Really?!?!? What a crook!

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 04/17/08 - 09:36 pm
0
0
Glacock, Fleming has

Glacock, Fleming has outraised Broun by about 15 to 1. No joke. Broun has about $120, but $116k in debt from his last campaign (2 years ago? Those are some PATIENT creditors!!)

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