Updated: Oxendine lawyer slams Ethics Commission

By Cameron McWhirter/cmcwhirter@ajc.com

File this under bad timing.

Republican candidate for governor John Oxendine has a potentially embarrassing hearing scheduled before the State Ethics Commission on June 24, less than a month before the July primary.

Stacey Kalberman, the commission’s executive secretary, sent Oxendine a letter this week alerting him of the upcoming public meeting.

Last year, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that two Georgia-based insurance companies had used ten Alabama political action committees to funnel $120,000 – almost ten times the legal limit – to Oxendine’s campaign.

Georgia’s Ethics-in-Government Act prohibits officials from taking money directly from companies they regulate. The law also prohibits funneling money through PACs to get around contribution limits of $12,200 per candidate in a normal election cycle.

After the stories, Oxendine returned the money and the State Ethics Commission opened an investigation. After months of delay, the commission appears to be moving forward – just as the crowded Republican race for governor intensifies.

Earlier this month, the State Ethics Commission issued subpoenas to the two companies, State Mutual Insurance Company and the Admiral Life Insurance Company, both headed by Delos Yancey III, a close friend of Oxendine’s. The subpoenas ask for bank records and other information.

Update 12:31 p.m.: Stefan Passantino, Oxendine’s lawyer, said setting the hearing so close to the primary “smacks of a political hit job.” He said if the commission does not postpone the hearing on its own, he will take legal action to force it do so.

34 comments Add your comment

Come ON!!

May 28th, 2010
10:29 am

You got to be kidding me! Whether you are a supporter of Oxendine or not, a bureaucratic agency should not play politics. Hasn’t this case been around a long time? What is the sense of urgency all of the sudden to bring the case up so close to a primary election? POLITICS!! The staff, director and commissioners of the Ethics Commission should be ASHAMED of themselves!!

[...] and bloggers everywhere can rejoice. The State Ethics commission has just set a hearing on Oxendine’s ethics charges for June 24th, thus giving all of us a perfect excuse to recycle fun Ox stories just as the unwashed [...]

GoOX

May 28th, 2010
10:42 am

This is great, My Man Ox will no have the chance to show that this was a smear camapaign

Nancy

May 28th, 2010
10:44 am

Come ON>>>>First of all State Mutual Insurance is headquartered in Rome and if you were in the industry as Mr. Yancey is you could more readily appreciate John. I have had many dealings with him ever since he took office as commissioner and I have great respect for him. Since when do we expect elected officials to walk on water…most would really sink to the bottom.

[...] AJC [...]

Dave

May 28th, 2010
10:58 am

“Since when do we expect elected officials to walk on water…most would really sink to the bottom.”

Nancy, my thoughts exactly. My problem is that Oxendine and Deal seem to spend most of their time in the bottom mud.

John Nickle

May 28th, 2010
11:48 am

Are these real comments here? Illegal is illegal. You break the law and you too can do time. Is he teflon or not? Maybe. We shall see. But to protect anyone that is serving the public, elected by the public and also responsible to the public. Don’t you think that this potentially very illegal act be looked into. If not, “Why?”

Cause they are buddies?

Red

May 28th, 2010
11:54 am

Oxendine comes by it honestly. His father was removed from the bench last year for his misdealings and has quite a history of them. By the way, the Ethics Commission is a Republican-packed group, hand picked by Sonny to protect Republicans, so don’t blame them.

Jim B

May 28th, 2010
12:03 pm

Red – Perdue hates Ox and Perdue is 100% behind Handel. Perdue picks three of the five commissioners. Eric Johnson picked one of the existing members. I agree Republicans may be protecting their chosen candidates but Ox is not a chosen candidate in this case. It seems Handel and Johnson are benefitting from this little puppet show.

JCamp

May 28th, 2010
1:44 pm

The key to the above story is that the ethics committee dragged their feet. They purposely waited until just before the primary to do anything. There is no merit to this charge and they just want the front running Republican to be shown in a bad light just at the time of the primary.

We’ll see how this plays out!

Steve

May 28th, 2010
1:45 pm

Enter your comments here

Steve

May 28th, 2010
1:49 pm

I see that Oxendine is not disptuing the charges, merely blaming the “timing” of the investigation. Point 1. He gave the money back, but only after being discovered to have taken it. This leaves two conclusions, either he knew it was illegal and acted quickly to try and cover it up, and limit the damage, or 2. He was totally innocent and had no idea where the money came from before the story broke. I guess voters have to decide for themselves is he corrupt, or is he naive? Neither is flattering to a man who wants to be governor of Georgia.

Itsmeagain

May 28th, 2010
1:56 pm

Only a fool would accept that much money without knowing where it came from. Oxendine is as corrupt as they get. Seriously, if he becomes governor, this state will have hit rock bottom.

Darlene

May 28th, 2010
2:12 pm

“Itsmeagain” you make a great point “only a fool would accept that much money without knowing where it came from” and apparently you think the candidate of a multimillion dollar campaign personally collects each dollar. How about you let the grownups post the comments.

He is slime

May 28th, 2010
2:28 pm

Call your insurance agent. Ask them what they think of his ethics. They have to deal with him.

Judge Dawg

May 28th, 2010
2:55 pm

No wonder the Tea Party loves Republicans. Both are corrupt alike.

The General

May 28th, 2010
3:11 pm

@ GoOx

Your scummy hero is toast.

Wayne

May 28th, 2010
3:36 pm

I knew he wasn’t the candidate we needed. He is a RINO

bart

May 28th, 2010
4:39 pm

Both Oxendine and Deal are known crooks, yet they are the two leaders in the Republican race for Governor. Surely the Republican Party and the State of Georgia can do better.

Diehard

May 28th, 2010
10:49 pm

Time for the Ox to get gored.

Ethics? Not for our boy OX

May 29th, 2010
12:02 am

Since he knew the money was dirty, he returned it without a peep. The ethics commission needs to subpoena his phone records, I bet there are dozens of calls to/from his buddy Yancey

(Hey John, did ya get the $100 grand I sent ya? I got real sneaky and sent it from ten different bank accounts.)

Some here are arguing that he ‘did not notice’ a contribution of over $100,000….yeah right.

At the time of the crime, Ox had only about $300K, so a group of contributions, all from the same PO box in Alabama for over $120,000 would surely get his attention, no?

Morrus

May 29th, 2010
8:36 am

Curiously, in a supposed anti-incumbent year, most of the departing are not retiring but seeking higher office. We may recycle more than we replace. The bad news is that a frustrating 114 seats still have but one contestant. Two of them aren’t even incumbents, meaning they will affect state policy without being vetted by voters. And I have to think that we’d be better off if many had run instead for the Legislature — and cut down on the number running unopposed. Georgia’s problems are numerous. They aren’t going away. There’s too much stale thinking at the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle. New voices would be welcome.

Dick

May 29th, 2010
9:06 am

John did nothing as an insurance commissioner, he will do nothing as a governor. He is very arrogant.

clem

May 29th, 2010
10:24 am

If we Georgians elect either Oxendine or Deal, we will be saying that we want an unethical crook as our Governor.

Iconoclast

May 29th, 2010
10:24 am

A truly savvy politician would speak with modest contrition and invite due-process and the exoneration by the Ethics Commission. An egomaniac, on the other hand, would do EXACTLY what Ox and his attorney are pulling and find-fault with adjudication. A wise man would show some humility, but Georgia isn’t really known for sage leadership.

lou

May 29th, 2010
10:27 am

What has Oxendine done for us as insurance commisssioner? We have the 8th highest car insurance rates in the country. He’s been more interested in lining his own pockets than in helping us.

VOTER BEWARE

May 30th, 2010
4:29 am

VOTERS BEWARE: Oxendine has hand-picked his successor to the Insurance Commissioner post – Maria Sheffield (lobbyist and lawyer who represents insurance companies against their policy holders).

A vote for her is a vote to continue Oxendine’s do-nothing, corrupt and arrogant policies.

catlady

May 30th, 2010
10:08 am

I am in a very much anti-incumbent mood. No one who has held any office gets my vote. And yes, Mr. Barnes, you ARE an incumbent.

[...] of America, of Phoenix, allege that certain members of the State Ethics Commission may be …Updated: Oxendine lawyer slams Ethics CommissionAtlanta Journal Constitution [...]

Billy Righteous

May 30th, 2010
7:56 pm

What about the arrogance displayed by that SOB years ago when he ‘needed’ that fully loaded crown vic when other agencies had the standard model.

Billy Righteous

May 30th, 2010
7:58 pm

He’s only a talking head when he gets his 15 seconds of fame after a big blaze.

LMAO @ Oxendine

May 30th, 2010
9:44 pm

Who cares if the “Timing” is bad…Nobody uses “timing” as an excuse to blow taxpayer dollars than this ScumBag Loser John Oxendine…He praises God everytime some old lady’s house is burned to the ground or flooded so he can show up in the State’s Helecopter two-three weeks after the fact, take dozens of pictures to post on his website and pretend he gives a shtt!!! He shows up in his medium polo shirt when he needs a XXL and uses everyone’s destroyed homes as an excuse to land the helecopter in the middle of town and shake hands with Mayors, Police and Fire Chiefs to ask for their support for His Campaign…John Oxendine is a Timing Whore…this is coming from a fed up GEMA employee…those who actually get their hands dirty and wear rubber boots to work and bring in the relief only for Oscar Oxendine to show up after the waters have subsided where he doesn’t get his new shoes muddy…Bad Timing???? Too Bad, SShole!!!

Road Scholar

May 31st, 2010
8:35 am

All of us have been screaming for ethics reform. Those who don’t justify lying, and cheating. How else do you get to the bottom of the charge w/o having a hearing. Maybe they should wait until after he wins the nomination so it paves the way for the Demo!

Catlady, I’m basing my vote on the best person to bring us out of this economy and one who has a realistic vision for our state and country. Sonny doesn’t have any vision past his own checkbook! Who of these candidates have any vision (that is beyond the conservatives issues of abortion and guns)?

[...] hopeful John Oxendine (R) will be participating in an upcoming State Ethics Commission Hearing. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Republican candidate for governor John Oxendine has a potentially embarrassing hearing scheduled [...]