Former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga) refuses to say whether he was given a copy of the Office of Congressional Ethics’ report into his business dealings with the state of Georgia.
Deal, who resigned his seat in the U.S. House on Sunday following the vote on health care reform, is a Republican candidate for governor.
The Washington-based newspaper Roll Call reported Wednesday that the congressional ethics office likely provided Deal with a copy of the report “detailing the focus of its investigation and its recommendation to the ethics committee.”
Asked whether Deal has the report and if he will release it, Deal spokesman Harris Blackwood said “any questions on this issue should be referred” to the House ethics committees. “He is no longer a member of Congress.”
Blackwood has refused to comment further.
But, as Deal surely knows, the House ethics committees refuse to acknowledge even the existence of investigations unless they are forwarded for sanctions by the full House. Because Deal resigned, the committees no longer have jurisdiction over him and any inquiry or investigation would have stopped.
The 18-year congressional veteran effectively quashed the ethics investigation into his business dealings with the state. He set in motion a special election to fill his unexpired seat. When he announced his intentions to resign, Deal said the investigation had nothing to do with it. Instead, he said he was resigning to focus on his bid for governor.
Deal has been the subject of two inquiries by congressional investigators into his role in a business with the state that earned his company $1.5 million from 2004 through 2008. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in August that Deal and a business partner obtained the lucrative state business without competition and that Deal personally intervened with state officials to fight proposed changes to the operation.
Deal denied any wrongdoing in his business dealings.
The Office of Congressional Ethics and the U.S. House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct had contacted the state Department of Revenue in October for documents and interviews regarding Deal’s role in the business, records obtained by the AJC showed.
According to Roll Call, House ethics investigators “opened only one new inquiry in the last half of 2009. That investigation began in October – the Journal-Constitution reported in December that state records showed [Office of Congressional Ethics] investigators contacted a state office in October – and appears to have ended its second and final phase in late December.”