Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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Georgia State Ethics Commission: Something STINKS To High Heaven

by PV

Rumors have it that a multi-agent special investigative squad assembled by the FBI in August 2011 is here in Georgia because of a certain straw that was laid on the camel’s back in June 2011 at the Georgia State Ethics Commission, and broke it.

First published by Jim Walls over at Atlanta Unfiltered tonight, Walls reveals that there appears to have been some kind of federal investigation into Governor Deal’s finances over the past year.

However, that really isn’t the most interesting part of this story. Walls has a document up that is a Memo to File written by Georgia Office of The State Inspector General (“OIG”) that is a conversational transcript of what former (politically-dismissed) State Ethics Commission Investigator Sherilyn Streicker told the OIG on August 29, 2011. (NOTE: In case that copy of the memo vanishes from Walls’ site, here is a backup copy of the OIG Memo)

In this Memo, several fascinating things are revealed:

1) Sometime between February 2011 and June 2011 (when her job was “conveniently” eliminated by the State Ethics Commission), Streicker and Executive Director Stacy Kalberman met with the FBI. (Note: It has previously been claimed around the Gold Dome by sources close to Deal that Kalberman was lying in her story to the AJC back over the summer regarding the FBI having any interest at all with the Deal ethics’ investigation. This OIG Memo proves those claims to be undeniably false now and that Kalberman had met with the FBI regarding Deal’s case.)

2) According to the OIG Memo, Streicker and Kalberman met with three members of the Commission on May 3, 2011 after their regularly scheduled meeting (Kent Alexander, Josh Belinfante, and Kevin Abernethy) to discuss the draft subpoena for getting Governor Deal’s records.

3) Ethics Commissioner Kevin Abernethy (appointed by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle via the Committee on Committees), when handed a copy of the draft subpoena reportedly “turned white and said he didn’t want any part of this [investigation into Governor Deal]” when Kalberman and Streicker discussed the issue with him.

4) Streicker then describes the encounter with then-Chairman of the Ethics Commission Patrick Millsaps regarding the draft subpoena where Millsaps “came across as hesitant about our investigation [into Governor Deal’s finances.]”

PV Sniffs The Air: You folks smell that? It smells like an investigation needs to be opened, not on Deal, but on then-member (and Chair) of the State Ethics Commission Patrick Millsaps, as well as current Chair Kevin Abernethy to ask the following questions:

1) In the AJC article published on June 16, 2011, there is a paragraph describing then-Chairman Patrick Millsaps reaction to the draft subpoena in a meeting with Millsaps on May 3: “We were given something on the Deal case,” Millsaps said of the May 3 meeting. “I probably didn’t look at it too much.”

Golly. REALLY, Mr. Millsaps? Why didn’t you “look at it too much?” What kind of people do we HAVE as our “ethics commissioners” if they don’t bother “looking” at things like DRAFT SUBPOENAS????

2) Someone needs to ask Kevin Abernathy exactly what part of his job description does he not get when his response to being handed a draft subpoena to review is “I don’t want any part of this” (AND “turning white” as if in sheer horror and fear?)

In short, Ladies and Gentlemen, this matter now officially stinks to HIGH HEAVEN in Georgia.

ANDthese questions that need to be asked of Millsaps and Abernethy should NOT be asked by any investigator at the state level (because AG Sam Olens is charged by the Georgia Constitution to act as legal counsel of the State Ethics Commission and cannot adequately conduct an investigation on his own client while representing the People of Georgia via his oath of office) but by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Why should these questions be asked? Because the manner in which events happened (i.e., Kalberman introduces the subpoena idea, and within a few weeks, a plan is concocted to fire staff and push Kalberman out so that no resources exist for the investigation into the Governor’s financial activities) points directly to a deliberate conspiracy between Patrick Millsaps and the Governor’s peeps to shut down the Ethics Commission’s investigation into Deal’s financial doings.

That multi-member FBI squad came to town in August. You can bet this kerfuffle at the State Ethics Commission in May-June of 2011 was the straw that broke the camel’s back with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of The Northern District of Georgia.

OH…one other thing…a piece of advice for the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI: If you’re tracking interesting money flows, make sure you make a note to look into the state PAC committee disclosures of Governor Deal’s Real PAC when they are filed in January 2012 and throughout 2012.

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Today's Deep Thought

When I was a child, there were times when we had to entertain ourselves. And usually the best way to do that was to turn on the TV.



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