Your Georgia Desk:
From Governor Nathan Deal:
Deal proposes reforms for Campaign Finance Commission
Gov. Nathan Deal today unveiled his plan to reform the Georgia Campaign Finance and Government Transparency Commission to address conflict-of-interest concerns raised by the current board’s composition.
“Throughout its troubled history – dating long before I took this office – confusion, dysfunction and inefficiency have plagued the commission,” Deal said. “I will propose to the General Assembly for the 2015 session a reform plan that will expand the number of commissioners, add appointments from the judiciary and assure that no public official’s campaign is investigated by commissioners appointed by his or her branch of government.”
The Deal plan calls for expanding the commission from five to 12 members. The executive, legislative and judicial branches would each appoint four members. Cases originating from one branch of government would be decided by commissioners appointed by the other two branches. For example, if the commission studied a complaint issued against a judge’s campaign, commissioners appointed by the executive and legislative branches would vote on the case.
“I appreciate the time and talent given to the commission by its current members,” Deal said. “They are public servants with great integrity. Even a strong team with good intent falls short when the system itself is broken, and I do think the system is broken here. It appears the commission hasn’t acted on any cases in several months, even though a backlog of cases exists. That’s not fair to candidates facing frivolous complaints who have a cloud hanging over them because their cases stay in limbo. Last year, I worked to pass a law that gives the commission the power to promulgate rules and regulations so that candidates receive clear guidelines on what they should and shouldn’t do. I would like to see the commission exercise those powers. Candidates need clarity to navigate often confusing rules, and the lack of clarity has led to a ‘gotcha’ culture where complaints to the commission have become standard fare on both sides of the aisle for political gamesmanship.
“With stronger guidelines and a commission that avoids the appearance of conflicts-of-interest, I believe we can get the system functioning efficiently and effectively. That’s the first step in gaining public trust in the integrity of our political system.”