Deal used $19k in campaign cash for ethics defense

Shannon McCaffrey of the Associated Press filed the following this afternoon:

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Nathan Deal tapped his state gubernatorial campaign account to pay more than $19,000 in legal fees to defend against congressional ethics allegations.

Former congressman Nathan Deal last week, before reporters. AP

Former congressman Nathan Deal last week, before reporters. AP

Deal’s lawyer, Randy Evans, called the move “perfectly legal.”

But one nonpartisan watchdog called the arrangement troubling.

“It doesn’t smell good to me,” said Bill Bozarth, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. “It is not money you raise and then use to print fliers and yard signs. It is quite something else.”

The state ethics commission said it was unclear whether the expenditures violated campaign law, which stipulates that campaign funds must be used for “ordinary and necessary expenses” related to running for office. Whether a congressional ethics investigation falls into that category appears to be gray area in Georgia.

Ethics Commission acting executive secretary Tom Plank said he could find no advisory opinion or precedent addressing the use of a state fund to pay for legal fees incurred as part of a federal probe.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the campaign merely followed Evans’ legal advice in writing a check from his state account. Robinson said Deal “adhered closely to the rules while fighting these attacks that stem from the worst kind of politics.”

Evans made two appearances before congressional investigators late last year related to their probe of the congressman’s dealings with state officials on behalf of his Gainesville auto salvage business.

On Dec. 16, Evans accompanied Deal to a 2 1/2 hour meeting in Washington with members of the Office of Congressional Ethics. On Oct. 30, Evans met with investigators in Atlanta.

In 2008 and 2009 Deal, then a member of the U.S. House, lobbied the state’s revenue commissioner to preserve a lucrative no-bid contract that had funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to his company.’

In a report released last month, the Office of Congressional Ethics rapped Deal, saying his conduct may have violated House ethics rules. They recommended that the House Committee on Standards investigate. Deal resigned from the U.S. House on March 21 before the panel decided whether to take up the matter.

Deal has said he resigned so he could focus on winning the Republican nomination for governor. He has maintained that his decision to step down was unrelated to the ethics probe.

Deal’s gubernatorial campaign shelled out $19,714 in legal fees in October and December 2009.

Evans, a well known Republican lawyer who sits on the state election board, confirmed that the money was paid for representation in the ethics case.

Noting that Deal shut down his congressional account at the end of June, 2009 — soon after entering the race for governor — Evans said, “the live campaign picks up the tab.”

Deal’s campaign could not say Friday whether another $17,363 in payments to Evans’ law firm in January and February were related to the ethics investigation.

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43 comments Add your comment

curious

April 9th, 2010
6:15 pm

Is candidate Deal being attacked in a vicious political campaign for governor? Or, is his campaign managing a brilliant, cost-effective media campaign, designed to use these allegations to gain statewide publicity and keep this candidate in the public eye?

K. Croom

April 9th, 2010
6:19 pm

Whether this or that action by this or that politician is technically legal OR ethical, I continue to be more and more turned off by ALL politics. My dog has better intentions than most involved in modern politics.

Let's Macon Deal...

April 9th, 2010
6:20 pm

I may be FIRST, but sadly few will see this. Deal is as crooked as them come and the best part of him running for gov is that he has left Congress. Not a partisan issue, ’cause I didn’t like him when he was a Democrat or a Republican. I care about Georgia and he is NOT the right choice for anything but crooked politics all the way around.

tim

April 9th, 2010
6:27 pm

The guy is a scumbag with a ton of scumbaggage. He spews lies out of both sides of his sorry “I’m a victim” mouth. Don’t listen to him, Don’t vote for him. We have better to vote for!

[...] Updated Again: Shannon McAffrey of the AP had this well before I did, and Jim Galloway brings you her report here. [...]

cliff

April 9th, 2010
6:50 pm

Makes me sick how folks like Deal and Poythress just can’t fade away with dignity instead of
continuing to seek office. The expenditure of campaign funds on legal defense shows how
selfish and unethical Deal is. Go away, man!

ken fuller

April 9th, 2010
6:51 pm

Nathan you would have us believe that the complaint against you accusing you of ethical lapses are just a witch hunt by democrats even though 3 of the 6 members of the panel bringing the charges are members of your own party. These three LIFE LONG REPUBLICANS voted UNANIMOUSLY against you. Why don’t you explain this. Why Nathan would these three Republicans with nothing to gain vote against you ? They , MEMBERS OF YOUR OWN PARTY, say that your conduct violated the law. Please explain how and why they are part of the witch hunt. Now please explain how legal fees to defend yourself against such charges are ordinary and necessary for a campaign for Georgia Governor. One who wishes to serve our highest office should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Spending your contributor’s money in this manner falls far short of this standard. It appears you are acting consistent with one who has little concern for appearances. This is not a trait we want or need in our leaders.

Donna Morton

April 9th, 2010
6:55 pm

This previous blog of mine, goes to the perceived character, of this man…

I am a retired nurse, who through patient contact, contracted Hepatitis C. I have struggled with both public and private insurance companies, at varying times and understand, both from a patient and a health care provider’s point of view, just how important health care reform is.
Recently, I attended a town hall meeting given by Congressman Nathan Deal (R) of Georgia and was appalled at both how the event was publicized and carried out.
First of all, the information that I got from the internet (regarding the town hall meeting) was misleading. It stated that Congressman Deal would be speaking before the Dalton, Georgia Chamber of Commerce. It was unclear whether the meeting was open to the public. Upon calling his office I was informed that it was open, and that Congressman Deal would speak, then follow with a question and answer session.
The meeting was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. I arrived at 7:45 to find that the well-dressed and apparently very affluent attendees were finishing their purchased breakfasts and listening to the congressman close his speech and open the floor to questions. I listened to some very nice people with definite opinions, and one very animated lady talking about: czars, a communist, a black panther and a preacher. I waited patiently until she finished, stood up and walked to the microphone.
After introducing myself, I gave a brief self bio. I had been raised by a fighter pilot and had been very privileged to grow up surrounded by great men such as: Jerry Coffee, Bob Aumack, Duffy Hutton, and Deacon Bakkee (highly esteemed fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy). It was through these wonderful and brave men that I developed a keen sense of right and wrong and personal responsibility. I had also been an agency nurse, working in many different hospitals, and with a variety of health care providers. Throughout my career I witnessed the provider’s side of health insurance and the fine line they are forced to walk.

Then I began to tell what I knew.

D.R.G.s is a diagnosis related coding system, started by insurance companies, which health care facilities and providers must adhere to. If you are admitted to the hospital for a stroke, you are assigned a code. This code represents how many days in the hospital, your insurance company will pay for, period. If you have to stay longer, the hospital must absorb the additional costs of care. As an example, I recounted a conversation I had with a doctor in a hospital I worked at. As I stood at the nurse’s station, the doctor was filling out discharge orders for a patient. The doctor stated “She’ll be back.” to which I replied,” Oh, why is that?” The doctor then said, “She’s picked up an infection and has pneumonia. As soon as she figures it out, she’ll be back with a new diagnosis and a new D.R.G. code”. I explained that it is in this way, the doctors and hospitals are ensured that the care they give a patient will be paid for by the insurance companies. Good for them, very bad for the patients.
Doctors and insurance companies are mortal enemies. Funny though, as our president tries to right this situation, these two enemies decide they are actually in love and into the same bed they hop.

I then addressed the facts regarding the insurance companies’ pension for denying claims. The more this action is rewarded with revenue, the more they continue the practice. At this point, Congressman Deal explains that the denial of claims is usually due to the insured not following procedure in some way. I know way better than that, intimately, but after his statement, I have renamed him. In my mind… he goes from Congressman Deal, to “No Big Deal”, so I move on.

Then I told a story that illustrated the horror stories of public health care. One night, a 16 year old mother, brought her new born to an emergency room in rural Tennessee. I was working at that hospital on the same night. We heard the baby was in critical condition and every one was silently praying as they worked. The child was covered by TennCare, a public health care program created during the Clinton era, when states where told to start their own programs or the Federal Government would. Two nights before, the child was brought to the ER. The doctor gave the child’s mother a prescription and sent them home. The next night, after visiting a different emergency room the mother was again given a prescription and sent home. This night the mother was back for her third visit to an emergency room in three days. Her child was in respiratory distress, to the point, it was turning blue. How is it that this child had been seen by two previous doctors and still the illness had progressed this far? It seems that the two doctors, who had seen the child on the two previous nights, could not get reimbursed by TennCare. They gave minimal care, hoping to pass the child on to another Dr, when the mother ascertained, the child was not getting better. “No Big Deal” said nothing. Me? I was remembering the woman screaming over and over again, “I want my baby! I want my baby!” and the doctor shouting “This should not have happened! This should not have happened! I want an autopsy! I want an autopsy!” The mother was not consoled. I have nightmares about it, to this day.

I kept speaking. A year ago I went to visit my sister in Las Vegas. For six weeks, I watched, unbelieving, the local news stories about the local Veteran’s Administration who had subcontracted to a “chain” of gastrointestinal clinics that reused disposable equipment and transmitted Hepatitis C and HIV to tens of thousands of our nation’s veterans. Let me repeat that. Tens of thousands of our fighting men and woman, in a bipartisan wave of courage, took unimaginable risks with their own lives, for each and every one of us. Due to our health care system, they are once again doing battle. The incidents involved in this tragedy were brought on by a mix of both public and private health care sectors. This alone screams “Reform!”. Who among us could justly reduce this scream to a whisper?

As I said before, I have Hepatitis C and can tell you it is “no picnic”. In fact, it is a potentially life threatening disease that attacks bodies from the inside out. Not only is it capable of turning one’s immune system into a parasite attacking its host, but if there is not a positive reaction to treatment, liver transplants are necessary. Without great strides toward reproducing organs, it is unclear how many will die. Could it possibly be limited to tens of thousands? No, many, many more. It is dawning on me; the term “death panel” has not clearly been defined, as yet.

After I finish the retelling of the Las Vegas reports, “No Big Deal” speaks again, “Yes, and the government was very embarrassed by what happened”. I stared at him, and then I looked around the room. People, men and women in expensive business suits; some elderly gentlemen accompanied by beautifully coiffed, proper ladies with their jewel-adorned necks; and a few reporters (from a FOX affiliated newspaper) with stilled writing implements, were looking back, and no one said a word. I stepped away from the mike and returned to my seat.

Jed

April 9th, 2010
6:57 pm

This is fantastic. I mean, seriously, could Deal make himself look anymore the bozo of the Georgia gubernatorial race?

georgiadawg70

April 9th, 2010
6:58 pm

Why dont all of you union seminar bloggers go find a job a job.

North Ga Dawg

April 9th, 2010
7:09 pm

There is a pattern with Nathan Deal’s politics. He is not the stable servant we need. He was once pro abortion now pro life. I can see how you can change your mind on issues but not this one. He seems to put his personal finances above service. As a State Senator he leased an office in Hall County to a State Agency (Pardon & Parole). He moved Ga. Power company lines away from his property to his neighbors. So much for loving your neighbor as yourself. He used his influence to benefit his salvage business. He has violated House ethics rules and resigned to avoid the investigation. But it is so troubling to me that he has put his ambition above us. We are without a voice in the Congress at in my mind the most important time in history. I say this as I have not endorsed or contributed to another candidate. Now he is using peoples hard earned money to defend his actions. This is beyond the pail. He should be ashamed.

Ramzad

April 9th, 2010
7:10 pm

Again, we have proof that Republicans consider that the American electorate are gullible pansies, malleable and ductile with the application of a little warmed over propaganda.

This guy commited a theft of resources from his Congressional portfolio, and then he used those stolen resources (stationery, staff time, IT utilities, telephony) to bully, the Georgia Revenue Commissioner to remove a State process, and his financial feeding trough from competetive bid, and he get his ethics charge legal bill paid from his campaign fund. Americans are coming closer and closer to being worthless or stupid.

WestOfAthens

April 9th, 2010
7:12 pm

I dont really care about these allegations. The facts i seek are:

What have you done for me lately, and what can be done for me later.

Here Is What to Do

April 9th, 2010
7:17 pm

There is one way you can avoid Deal becoming governor. DON’T VOTE FOR HIM!!!

majii

April 9th, 2010
7:44 pm

georgiadawg70

Some of us can blog all day long. We’re retired. It’s amazing how some people naturally assume that someone with whom they disagree on policies is unemployed, never worked, is on welfare, etc. I probably worked more years than you are old.

Look before I leap

April 9th, 2010
8:44 pm

The more I see of this buffoon, the more convinced I am he would feed his grandkids to an alligator if he thought it would further his political career or put money in his pocket.

Look before I leap

April 9th, 2010
8:47 pm

@georgiadawg70:
Why is that instead of simply disgreeing and stating why, you muster a personal attack against someone you don’t even know?

Cutty

April 9th, 2010
9:07 pm

I’m glad I didn’t donate anyhthing to his GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN, it would’ve just gone to pay his legal fees. Those that donated I’m sure don’t mind their hard earned money went into the pocket of an attorney.

joejoe

April 9th, 2010
9:56 pm

THe Congressman had a pretty good press spokesman but when he got into trouble he announced he had a new one. What’s up with that?

old Hippie

April 9th, 2010
10:46 pm

Looks to me like ole Bad Deal is “running for gubner” to find a way to pay his legal bills. Seems like it woulda been easier to just take a job on K Street, and let his GOP co-conspirators pays for his corruption.

Once a corrupt Republican politician (and ain’t that really redundant?), always a BAD Deal.

Michael

April 10th, 2010
6:45 am

Georgians get what we deserve.

GA voter

April 10th, 2010
7:01 am

My question is this… Where is the information about all of the other candidates in this race? How soon we forget about the information released earlier in the year about John Oxendine, who openly admits wrong doing. It is clear that someone, we don’t have to name who, is quite threatened by Nathan and is grabbing at any information he or SHE can find. Don’t be ignorant, read the ethics report. You’re questions will be answered, but also keep in mind the information conveniently “deleted” from the report explained by Nathan. While you’re at it, why don’t you demand information from other candidates on their campaigns. It’s a year for dirty politics and it’s apparent that no matter what is thrown at him, Nathan is in it for the long haul.

No OX, Noo Deal, Nooo Linger Longer Johnson

April 10th, 2010
8:23 am

Ga Voter has it right we have 3 REALLY BAD candidates running.

THE NAME SAYS IT ALL…….

Hmmmmmmm

April 10th, 2010
9:02 am

Donna
As bad as your story is, we still DO NOT need government control of our health insurance…. There is another answer, it’s not with the government!

Mike

April 10th, 2010
9:04 am

Doesn’t smell good to me either. Looks like Mr. Deal is on the way out of this race. Now if we can also get Roy (Good ‘Ol Boy) Barnes & John (The Sleaze) Oxendine to part ways with the campaign, it’ll be a better state.

Morrus

April 10th, 2010
9:36 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

Been Around-Done That

April 10th, 2010
10:23 am

Gosh…what a lousy choice for we Republicans in the coming Governor’s race! On one hand we have Nathan “let me give you another bad” Deal. Then we have John “let me at that trough” Oxenswine…and finally we are questionably blessed with Karen “you can’t Handel the truth”! On the Democratic side we have Roy “King Rat” Barnes who looks like the likely nominee. God help the citizens of Georgia!

Stir It

April 10th, 2010
12:30 pm

Republicans will !@#$% it up and lose to Roy Barnes.

OPC

April 10th, 2010
1:54 pm

Only a fool would extend credit to the Deal organization, he has a record of stiffing people & taking care of himself.

whatever

April 10th, 2010
2:00 pm

@left turned right………THANK YOU THANK YOU…….THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD.

Bobby

April 10th, 2010
3:08 pm

Republicans are simply bad for the State of Georgia, the South and the USA. Deal is not a good Deal for anyone.

Bug

April 11th, 2010
3:31 am

Ray Boyd
Never ran for any office
Will NOT take any money from anyone
Wants term limits
Sounds good to me

Base

April 11th, 2010
1:15 pm

Crook at work .

Donna Morton

April 11th, 2010
3:23 pm

Is any one else thinking of Baker? The present Attorney General? He seems to posses common sense by refusing to waste tax payer money on Sonny’s frivolous law suits against the US Government. His record looks good to me. (He did prosecute a case, that I don’t agree with, but you know what they say about opinions).
Baker’s chances may be whittled down with recent events. He and Purdue have already done the “you have to do the Governor’s will” thing and Sonny lost. Of course being a “southern gent” Sonny can not take defeat graciously, he wants to re-fight the fight with both Baker and the US Government (rising the south again) Purdue threatened a law suit, but he knew that he couldn’t win. After dropping that tact, impeachment of Baker (for not doing his job) was suggested. (OH! Do I smell smoke?) I feel it was done for the sole purpose of revenge and opening the door wider for a republican candidate.
Having said that, back to Purdue vs. Baker. Baker is intelligent enough to know, that Sonny’s argument,” it is unconstitutional to make citizens a consumer of a product” (health care insurance) while basically sound, will look hypocritical coming from a state that insists on auto insurance and schools that require a doctor’s excuse.

Any way, I will continue to scrutinize the candidate’s records. I will endeavor to peer through the “organic ” smoke, which tends to stay low to the ground (about knee level) and quite thick. At this point though, I’m leaning toward Baker with my registered, republican, voting card. What’s up with that?

Donna Morton

April 11th, 2010
3:29 pm

Hmmmmmm, you may be right. As I pointed out, both systems are flawed, however, through voting power we each have an equal say in our government. We have no say, in the private sector.
People are concerned about our government taking over, but it gets weaker with lobbying and greedy politicians. Corporations have to do well by the stock holders. Stock holders want big returns. CEO’s soothe their consciences with big bonuses and it cycles. At least we can vote our politicians out.
Have no fear though, there are always lobbyists. As you fight one bill in the state senate, it’s passing under a completely different bill in the house. Soon things will be back to normal.

[...] It’s being reported that former U.S. Representative and gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal (R) used $19,000 in campaign contributions on legal counsel for this ethics investigation. As if the report itself wasn’t damaging enough, this will certainty hound Deal leading into the primary election. From the Associated Press via the AJC: Shannon McCaffrey of the Associated Press filed the following this afternoon: [...]

Warbler

April 12th, 2010
12:39 pm

Donna, please read Art. V, Sect. III, Paragraph IV of the Georgia Constitution about “Duties of the Attorney General”. If still confused, consult a dictionary or English teacher on the phrase ” when requested by the Governor”.

Donna Morton

April 13th, 2010
3:25 am

Warbler, I understand that, but after a court case between these two, it was decided that the attorney general’s responsibility is to the citizen’s of the state of Georgia, not to the Governor.
According to georgia.gov (the official website) these are in part his duties:
The Attorney General is given his authority and obligations by the Georgia Constitution and the Official Code of Georgia. His duties include:
* Serving as the attorney and legal advisor for all state agencies, departments, authorities and the Governor.
He is an advisor. Not a servant of the Governor. According to the Georgia Attorney General’s mission statement, states he is to serve the people’s of the State of Georgia’s interests, taking into consideration the Constitution of the State of Georgia AND the Constitution of the United States.
I didn’t think I had gotten a passport when I moved here. I attended Fairfax county schools, which are considered the best public school system in the nation, so I see no reason to consult either an English teacher or a dictionary. Perhaps you may want to heed your own advise since, clearly, the key is one word in ART. V, Sect. III, Paragraph IV is “advisor” and not the phrase “yes man”.
I put my name on anything I write and I do my research.

Donna Morton

April 13th, 2010
3:29 am

It’s three thirty a.m. please accept my apologies for not proofing the above communication.

[...] Read the AJC reports here>>> [...]

Russell

April 13th, 2010
6:13 pm

As an Austin Scott supporter I am wondering what it’s going to take for him to get the media attention others are getting. Does he need to have a backroom contract with the state? How about taking illegal lobbyist money? Inappropriate contact with a minor? A suicide attempt?

Give me a break! So much for being ethical and honest. You see where it gets you? In last place!

I hope voters will be smart enough to take a look at Austin Scott and what he stands for. After reviewing the other candidates he is the only one I would consider voting for.

If the likes of OX and Deal are nominated I’d rather vote for Barnes.

http://www.scottforga.com

Donna Morton

April 14th, 2010
5:06 am

To find out more about what sectors contribute to the candidates, and how much they have contributed, go to:
http://www.followthemoney.org
This site should help you discern, where your candidates interests may lay, opposed to your own.

[...] yet another ethics investigation, this time by the State of Georgia, Nathan Deal allegedly used funds from his gubernatorial [...]