Ethics Commission hearing on Oxendine cancelled

A State Ethics Commission hearing about more than $100,000 in questionable campaign contributions to Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine’s bid for governor has been cancelled, according to a posting on the commission’s Web site.

No other details were immediately available, but as of late last week the hearing was still scheduled.

But the case has been simmering for more than a year, since The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Oxendine collected $120,000 in contributions from a series of Alabama-based political action committees with ties to a insurance companies that Oxendine regulated.

The companies, State Mutual Insurance and Admiral Life Insurance Co., both of Rome, filed suit in Fulton County Superior Court in late May to quash Ethics Commission subpoenas that sought documents related to the contributions.

State Mutual Insurance Co. of Rome on Friday asked a Fulton County judge to find the State Ethics Commission in contempt of court for planning to move forward with the hearing this week despite Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams ordering that all commission hearings into “this matter” be delayed pending a hearing in her court. Commission executive secretary Stacey Kalberman indicated to the AJC last week that the commission planned to move forward with the hearing.

On Thursday, Adams issued an order calling for a hearing in her court by July 2 and ordering that “all hearings and actions in this matter before the State Ethics Commission are stayed for a period of time not to exceed thirty (30) days or until further order of this court.”

But Kalberman told the AJC on Thursday that the commission’s interpretation of “this matter” in Adams’ order is that it only applied to discussions of State Mutual and Admiral Life. She said the commission could move forward with its hearing this week to discuss other topics related to the Oxendine investigation.

But Kalberman also said Friday that the commission asked Adams to clarify whether they may move forward with the June 24 hearing. It was unclear late Monday whether the delay in the Ethics Commission hearing was related to the request.

The commission has been investigating the donations since last year and recently subpoenaed the companies  for financial records. The companies balked, and filed a suit in Fulton County to stop the investigation. They argued it was political and had been delayed until just before the July 20 primary election to hurt Oxendine, the front-runner for the GOP nomination.  Delos Yancey III, who heads State Mutual, is a friend of Oxendine.

Kalberman said delays have not been caused by the commission, but by a lack of cooperation from 10 political action committees in Alabama that channeled the donations to Oxendine. The PACs were set up by a State Mutual board member.

But in Friday’s filing, an attorney for the insurance companies said Kalberman is wrong.

“The members of the commission and the executive secretary are all attorneys; they are officers of the court,” attorney Daniel Meachum said. “They cannot willfully disregard a court order and expect such a blatant act to be ignored.”

Last year, the AJC reported State Mutual and Admiral Life had used 10 Alabama PACs to channel $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.

23 comments Add your comment

scrier

June 21st, 2010
11:19 pm

Odd. Ms Kalberman was so adamant about going forward with the hearing last Thursday and does an about face just two days later. I see from their website she’s fairly new so may be learning the ropes. If so, that’s too bad because Ox is bad news and it will take more than someone so inexperienced to stop him. She would have been better off just obeying the court order and wait for the July 2 court hearing (it’s just a week delay for God’s sake) rather than announcing to the world how clever she is by playing word games with the court order – only to now have to eat her words publicly and diminish the stature of the Ethics Commission.

Ismelfish

June 22nd, 2010
5:53 am

Enter your comments here
Something smells fishy about all this…is it just me?

tomkat1

June 22nd, 2010
7:53 am

Big insurance companies seem to always get their way in Georgia.

Road Scholar

June 22nd, 2010
8:55 am

How long does it take to investigate and issue an opinion? It’s been over a year!

lcf633

June 22nd, 2010
8:56 am

I hope the truth about Oxendine’s lack of ethics will come out.

[...] John Oxendine, the leading Republican candidate for governor, has won a temporary reprieve. From my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin: A State Ethics Commission hearing about more than $100,000 in questionable campaign contributions [...]

John Wine and Dine

June 22nd, 2010
9:27 am

The judge is a partisan Democrat who is doing all she can to block this investigation until the Ox sews up the nomination and then watch her suddenly lose interest in blocking further Oxendine ethics investgations. By blocking this investigation, the judge is acting in the best interests of barnes and the Democratic party and she should be roundly critcized for her actions.

LMAO @ Oxendine

June 22nd, 2010
9:52 am

Go Figure…

Rob Vinson

June 22nd, 2010
9:53 am

This matter should have been “investigated” or “finalized” by now. I hope the truth comes out and if the Ox is dirty, then it is what it is. It definitely smells fishy to me.

anonymous

June 22nd, 2010
10:41 am

I don’t need any investigation to tell me he is corrupt.

I know from experience that he is.

Its unfortunate that I can’t prove it. He is very good at talking around a subject so that he can claim innocence.

He can say something like, “Gee, I would love to get that rate reduction approved for your company, but I’ve been so busy with trying to shore up campaign contributions for my re-election bid. I suppose if I already had the money I needed, I would have time to get to your request”

And then when a bunch of insurance agents from that company present him with a check in Duluth, GA 4 years ago, their rate reduction request is magically granted the very next day.

Morrus

June 22nd, 2010
10:45 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.

[...] Interesting happenings in the State Ethics Commissions investigations into John Oxendine’s PAC contributions. [...]

Oxendine is a Crook and Liar

June 22nd, 2010
11:55 am

Oxendine is Rod Blagojevic with a shorter hair

John Public

June 22nd, 2010
12:07 pm

This is typical republican crooks at their best, Governor Potato head is on a tax payer holiday in South America whilst laying off teachers, he hires crooked lawyer for 840 an hour for water wars and this guy Yancey should be indicted at once for campaign fraud. They all smell to high heaven, to bad Oxidines kid did not take the crook out for good on the hunting trip.

John Public

June 22nd, 2010
12:28 pm

Fulton Superior Court Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams, good job on postponing that ethics case till after the election, then we know you will really bury it for good. From us boys at the state capital thanks and we will take care of you later. Money and favors talk, honesty walks ha ha ha.

Anyone but Oxendine

June 22nd, 2010
1:06 pm

Johnny isn’t as smart as Blagojevic – who is pretty stupid it seems.

I thought for sure we could get this over with. Something really egregious will have to surface for the final blow.

Jake

June 22nd, 2010
2:09 pm

Can anyone name any other political campaign where money was accepted and later returned based on ethics or state laws? Did the case just fizzle out?

Curious, did Obama receive political campaign money that was questionable and then his campaign returned the money too?

Money was contributed and retuned. Doesn’t this happen all the time?

anonymous

June 22nd, 2010
3:55 pm

This guy is slime. Through and through. He plays the game. He doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. Elect someone above this bottom feeding mentality.

If you are the Insurance Commissioner, your best friend shouldn’t be the head of a big insurance firm. If your best friend funnelled money to you and you had to return it due to it being illegal, you shouldn’t then later be hunting and drinking on this guy’s property. Bottom line, he is a snake.

I wish I could prove all that I know.

Rome Artist

June 23rd, 2010
1:16 pm

I find it extremely interesting that each article that appears in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution uses the name of the CEO, Dee Yancey III, when discussing the State Mutual and Admiral Life PAC contributions. In our local, Rome News Tribune, the names of the two companies are stated without mentioning our prominant Roman contributor by name. Do you suppose this might have something to do with the power money can buy? It is a known fact that this man has contributed thousands of dollars to politicians and government agencies in Rome. I hope that he has finally run into a situation that money cannot buy his way out of.

Geoff Waterhouse

June 26th, 2010
7:10 pm

“State ethics,” what an oxymoron, just like “honest politician.” Oxendine is a liar but, unlike “anonymous,” I can prove it. The problem is with Oxendine, and the rest of politicians of his ilk, he is immune from prosecution. He can lie through his teeth, persecute the innocent and get away with it because politicians have a modern day version of “The Divine Right of Kings.” I could tell a VERY interesting true story about Oxendine, his blatant lies, his double standards and the help he got from the Georgia Attorney General to covre up the monumental cock up that he made back in 2005, but nobody really wants to know. He is not fit to be state rat catcher (he would be pusuing his own kind in that job so he wouldn’t do very well) never mind state governor. It comes as no surprise to me that the investigation is being postponed, buried, covered up, hidden, call it what you will. The “good ole boys’ network” lives on, and will live on, until some honest politicians are elected (that will be the day). I understand that all the honest politicians in Georgia had a meeting in a public phone box in Atlanta recently, and it wasn’t full!!!!!!! Don’t know how true the story is, but I can easily believe it

veritassemper

June 26th, 2010
8:36 pm

“State ethics” is as big an oxymoron as “honest politician” and “truth seeking journalist.” Oxendine IS a liar but, unlike “anonymous,” I CAN prove it.
You will find below a few lies straight from the lips of Oxendine, faithfully reported by one of AJC’s very own “truth seeking journalists,”"Peralte Paul. To be fair, the AJC wasn’t the only “reporter of truth” (what a hoot) who didn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story, other paragons of “truth and virtue,” such as 11 Alive, Fox 5,and WSB to name but a few, also jumped on the Oxendine lies band wagon. Thing is with people like Oxendine and other politicians of his ilk, of which there are many, is that they are fireproof they cannot be sued. They anjoy a modern day version of the old “Divine Right of Kings.”
Anyway, enough ranting, here are the lies of Oxendine, as reported inthe AJC among other places. As the saying might go, “From Oxendine’s mouth to the AJC’s ear,” or something like that!. The entire article is still available on the internet, I just checked at rmi.gsu.edu/rmi/…/klein/RMI_3500/Readings/Other/Taxis_InsFraud.htm How about that for fairness, after 5 years plus!

Alleged scheme fails to idle taxis
Peralte C. Paul, Leon Stafford – Staff
Thursday, March 3, 2005
Smaller companies — those with 20 vehicles or fewer — seemed to be the main targets of the alleged scam, Oxendine said. The main attraction, he said, was lower-than-average premiums. LIE
Officials say the alleged scam netted about $3 million for the pair, including $500,000 funneled to accounts in New Zealand. LIES
Oxendine said the pair allegedly paid out small claims from the new premiums coming in but stalled on larger claims. LIES
The most they ever paid out for a claim was $25,000, according to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Lamar County’s State Superior Court. LIES
“The claims started getting a little bigger and the claims started getting complicated and that’s when they [livery companies] started calling us,” Oxendine said. LIES

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Oxedine persisted with his lies into June 2006 afater all the unfounded allegations had long been dismissed and the Georgia Attorney General “did a deal” with the real fraudsters. So much for “Liberty and Justice for ALL!”

Aaron Gould Sheinin

June 27th, 2010
12:59 pm

Hey, Geoff, e-mailing you now.

[...] as Georgia’s Blago. The current ethics comission has been convinental cancelled for him until AFTER the election, because God forbid we know everything about a gubernatorial candidates. Luckily Karen [...]