Deal responds to ethics complaint over debt, aircraft use

An attorney for Nathan Deal late last week responded to a complaint filed with the State Ethics Commission that accuses him of improperly reporting personal debt and of using campaign funds for personal gain.

The response was filed by high-powered GOP attorney Randy Evans. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution requested the response from Evans and Deal’s gubernatorial campaign last week but received it Tuesday from George Anderson, a Rome-based government watchdog who originally filed the complaint.

In his response, Evans writes that Anderson’s complaints should be dismissed. The commission is investigating the complaints, although a hearing has not been set.

The first, concerns with whether Deal, the Republican nominee for governor, properly disclosed loans taken out by his private business. Deal filed an amended personal financial disclosure with the ethics commission after The Associated Press and the AJC reported in September that the former congressman had taken out more than $2.8 million in loans that were not disclosed on his original report.

Evans, in his response, notes that Deal filed amended disclosure reports. “This bald recognition of [Deal's] decision to amend is legally insufficient to form an actionable claim” under the Ethics in Government Act.

“On his own initiative, [Deal] completed a thorough and comprehensive analysis of his financial data to ensure that all aspects of his 2009 financial disclosure statement are now filed accurately,” Evans wrote.

The second complaint concerns how Deal’s campaign pays for private aircraft use. As the AJC reported in September, Deal’s campaign had paid more than $135,000 for the use of an airplane and helicopter to a private company in which he has an ownership interest.

Ethics law experts were split on whether the arrangement could violate state ethics laws. Anderson alleged in his complaint that Deal was personally profiting from the arrangement, a charge Deal has denied. Anderson also says Deal failed to disclose the ultimate recipient of the money, as Deal first paid North Georgia Aviation, which he co-owns, and that company in turn paid the company that owns the helicopter and the company that owns the airplane. North Georgia Aviation is part-owner of both companies.

In his response to the commission, Evans notes that Deal is “paying ‘fair market value’” for the flights in accordance with state law. Evans also writes that the arrangement “does not net a benefit to his co-owned businesses.”

“The conclusion is that [Deal's] campaign is not over-paying or under-paying for noncommercial flights at fair market value and therefore [Deal's] companies receive no benefit from the aircraft arrangement and [Deal's] campaign receives no in-kind contribution from the aircraft arrangement.”

25 comments Add your comment

Ralph

November 2nd, 2010
3:09 pm

Isn’t George Anderson a former DEMOCRATIC nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2004, and has since filed various ethics complaints against Republicans including this complaint?

Wouldn’t that information be as pertinent context to this article as Deal’s “high-powered GOP attorney”?

Ralph

November 2nd, 2010
3:31 pm

Hey Gotohel – great retort!

Early in LBJ’s political career, a guy known for dirty campaigns, he told his campaign manager that he wanted a story put out that his opponent has sex with farm animals. The campaign manager was shocked & asked LBJ if he seriously intended to accuse his opponent of performing these weird acts? LBJ said absolutely not. He just wanted to hear his opponent have to deny the rumors.

Barnes should have done this so the AJC would have headlined: “Deal said to have sex with farm animals”.

Oh wait – the AJC already did that to Cagle over a planted rumor about him.

just me

November 2nd, 2010
7:07 pm

I notice that you never said any of the accusations against Deal were false, Ralph.

roughrider

November 2nd, 2010
7:13 pm

If Deal is as broke as he claims, how could he afford high-powered GOP attorney Randy Evans. I’m sure Mr. Evans does not work for free.

pb

November 2nd, 2010
7:13 pm

Don’t worry, just me——

It will be over in a couple hours. Deal may be a litttle “ethically-challenged”, but he is stil going to win, because it is a bad year for Barnes and Democrats. And these ethics complaints will go away.

William

November 2nd, 2010
7:21 pm

Will Governor Deal give us back the Federal Tax dollars he stole on our State tax returns ?

Embarrassed

November 2nd, 2010
7:24 pm

Are these the best candidates we can come up with. A liberal, sue-happy, mud slinging bully and a corrupt, money hungry, selfish liar.

HOYT28

November 2nd, 2010
7:25 pm

What a DEAL, that is why I voted for Barnes.

Rocket1200

November 2nd, 2010
7:27 pm

still wish Karen was on the ballot; but oh well sometimes we have to hold our noses.

bart

November 2nd, 2010
7:28 pm

Sadly, we are saddled withn 2 candidates who are imperfect. However, at least Barnes is not a crook.

AJ

November 2nd, 2010
7:32 pm

@Embarrassed: I could not agree with you more. This is the epitome of slim pickins!

Kennesaw Republican voting for Barnes

November 2nd, 2010
7:32 pm

KAREN WE MISS YOU…..HOW THE HELL DID THIS DEAL GET THRU???

Embarrassed

November 2nd, 2010
7:36 pm

It is sad. I could not force myself to vote for either. Voted for everything else. Life-long resident of Georgia and don’t feel represented at all at the highest office of the state.

Dave

November 2nd, 2010
7:49 pm

On the assumption that Deal wins, I’m taking the under at next September on an announced criminal investigation concerning at least one of his accounting errors, inquiries on behalf of citizen/business partners, a child’s (his) businesses, etc. He’s already gotten a pass on the ghetto grandma thing – that stuff only plays in two counties.

In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to watching him and the rest of Georgia pols throw up their hands trying to balance a budget without evil Washington stimulus funds next year.

Finally, and this is mean, someone ought to take a count on the silverware at the mansion before he moves in.

Sandra

November 2nd, 2010
7:55 pm

One thing you can take to the bank is that Deal won’t be broke when he comes out of the governor’s office. Georgians may be but he won’t. He is ethically challenged and anyone who tries to deny it either is just plain stupid or goes around with their head stuck in the sand. And that is just the way Deal likes it!

angry

November 2nd, 2010
7:56 pm

I cant believe you ol racist people, who would vote for someone who talks about GHETTO GRANDMAS…what if I called your Grandma a WIGGER…you all deserve what you going to get…this worl is going down the drains with these racist republicans who HATE black people and want us to be poor all our lives. It is easy to see you white people hate the fact that we are more intelligent than you. That you have to stoop to racist tactics, to boost your egos. Just like Bush F us up, so will Deal, I mean come on your own families finances suck, you all better be damn sure that GA’s finances will suck to, you better run, because this WHITE BIGGET may try to HANG us all!!!

greg best

November 2nd, 2010
7:57 pm

Ralph…you are an imbecile. Do you have a regular job?

Ramguy

November 2nd, 2010
8:07 pm

Deal is going to win because the Ga voters want to drive home the fact that we our last in education…just in case someone doesn’t know.

Pedro

November 2nd, 2010
8:08 pm

Let’s just hope Obamma is still in office when Deal goes down so we state taxpayers get a bail out!!!!!

Ramguy

November 2nd, 2010
8:09 pm

Oh well at least the investigations and Deal’s money problems will disappear….but that’s ok isn’t it gang?

Harold

November 2nd, 2010
8:09 pm

Go Fish was such a success we wanted four more years of Republicans, huh. We may as well save our education money. It’s hopeless.

Al

November 2nd, 2010
8:11 pm

A FedEx box from Yemen would be preferable to this year’s ballot box

raf

November 2nd, 2010
8:12 pm

politic is just a joke, a scam decieving voter. why do we vote anyways

Peter

November 2nd, 2010
8:19 pm

I think it is important to understand how bad the education system is in Georgia…..thus the election results !

Kayla Nicole Mallard

November 4th, 2010
8:19 pm

Guess what,I’m Nathan’s cousin.Really,I am and I promise you I am.I hope I can see him soon.I haven’t seen him over a year or two.