From this morning’s Athens Banner-Herald:
Former Gov. Roy Barnes ripped state officials Wednesday for taking free tickets to college sporting events while tuition and student fees are rising.
Lobbyists for state universities, mainly the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, gave away 570 sets of football and basketball tickets worth $93,771 in the past five years, according to State Ethics Commission records.
Dozens of elected officials took the tickets, including three Republican candidates for governor – Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, former Senate President Eric Johnson and former Secretary of State Karen Handel – and two Democrats, Attorney General Thurbert Baker and House Minority Leader DuBose Porter.
“It’s not right,” said Barnes, the Democratic frontrunner for governor. “It sends a bad signal for legislators and governors to come down here, living high on the hog and seeing championship games and everything else, and not pay. Let them pay.”
The newspaper quotes a UGA official as saying the free tickets are a necessary expenditure to build support for funding within the state Capitol. Barnes’ alma mater didn’t like being powdered with the same make-up being applied to other lobbyists surrounding the Legislature.
“It is unfair to associate the university with unethical conduct that has been alleged in the capitol. To the best of our knowledge, the university is operating entirely within state ethical guidelines in this regard,” the newspaper quoted UGA spokesman Tom Jackson as writing in an e-mail.
The former governor’s many opponents also dismissed his criticism.
We have been criminally remiss in not recognizing, and applauding, a great feat of citizen journalism.
At PeachPundit, former Gwinnett GOP chairman Buzz Brockway has compiled several spreadsheets using the year-end campaign finance disclosures filed with the State Ethics Commission.
Brockway has comparisons not only for all statewide races, but for all contested House and Senate races as well. He’s got them stored in Google doc files. Check ‘em out.
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