By Cameron McWhirter
The State Ethics Commission launched an investigation Monday into whether a recently resigned commission member should finally pay a $1,000 fine levied against him in 2004.
Robert Proctor was appointed to the commission – which handles all ethics complaints for state government and elections — in January by Rep. Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek) during Burkhalter’s brief tenure as speaker. Proctor resigned Feb. 12, citing medical problems. He had just served one month on the panel and had never attended a commission meeting.
On Feb. 1, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Proctor never paid a $1,000 fine levied by the Ethics Commission in 2004 for failing to register as a lobbyist. Proctor said the order against him was never properly served notice of the fine, though he attended a hearing regarding the matter and met with an investigator. He argued since he had not been served with a certified letter, he did not have to pay the penalty. Officials on the commission at the time said they were sure they sent a letter, but at the time did not use certified mail. Notice of the fine has been posted on the commission’s Web site for years.
The commission asked the attorney general’s office and its own staff to investigate how exactly the fine it levied and whether the fine was still enforceable.
“Frankly,I don’t know the right answer,” said commission member William Jordan.
House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) will appoint Proctor’s replacement.