By Cameron McWhirterfirstname.lastname@example.org
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.