On the record on ethics

From Gov. Nathan Deal’s Jan. 17 State of the State address: I will conclude my remarks on a topic that does not require the recitation of statistics, but is one that is recognized in both the public and private domains as a cornerstone of success – that is ethics. We can build the strongest foundations of frugality, efficiency and competitiveness upon which our state government will rest; but if the citizens of Georgia don’t trust us, it will all be in vain, for the vibrations of distrust will crack even the strongest foundations. There will always be those in the media and elsewhere who thrive on sowing the seeds of doubt and distrust and who will never recant their sinister innuendos and malicious accusations even when they are vanquished by truth. And while you will never silence those voices of discord, nor should you try to do so, you can bolster the confidence of the public that might be tempted to listen to them by simply establishing clear rules under which you and those who deal with you in your capacity as elected officials must operate. If there is to be an expansion of the code of ethical conduct for members of the General Assembly, it should apply equally to all elected officials at the state and local levels.”

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle on the Senate ethics cap, during a Q&A at the Eggs & Issues breakfast Jan. 16: “I think it’s the proper balance.” “The reality of where we are is we have wonderful individuals who serve in the General Assembly, and none of them are seeking to game the system. They want to do what’s right and what’s fair.”

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, following Cagle’s remarks above: “I tease my friend over there that it was more of a sun visor than a cap that they passed yesterday.”

“We can disagree about the way we do this. At the end of the day I anticipate the lieutenant governor and the Senate and the House will come to an agreement about what constitutes a real change.”

From the AJC Jan. 6:

Savannah Alderman Tom Bordeaux, a former state legislator: “There is a whole lot of difference between wrong and illegal.

“It doesn’t mean it is not horribly wrong and hurtful to the public. I think the public has no idea how close the lobbyists and the legislators work together. The public would come in and see it and say, ‘Excuse me, aren’t you supposed to be representing me.’ “

Incoming Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth: “It is important that we have strong ethics laws, but in the end, ethical behavior comes from within the individual.

“There is only so much that laws and rules can do.”

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