Conservative groups challenge House speaker on ethics

COLUMBUS, Ga. — On Friday, House Speaker David Ralston tried to warn delegates to the state GOP convention away from a resolution to endorse a cap on gifts from lobbyists to state lawmakers, declaring that liberals were using the issue of ethics to divide the party.

Members of the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Leadership this morning issued this response:

“We strongly condemn the comments made by Speaker Ralston regarding ethics reform. Strong ethics and accountability are not a matter of right versus left. They are a matter of right versus wrong.

“His comments imply that voters and activists should hide our eyes from the realities of ethics violations and the need for reform, and stand by everyone no matter what they do, simply because they have an “R” behind their name.

“Rather than open his heart to the cries from citizens that we have the right to call for accountability, he comments reflect those of someone who seeks to divide our party by falsely accusing those who stand for our values of being divisive. His comments were arrogant and pompous and show an attitude that is anything but a humble public servant.”

The statement appeared over the names of Julianne Thompson of Georgia Tea Party Patriots; Kay Godwin and Pat Tippett of Georgia Conservatives in Action; and Dan Becker, president of Georgia Right to Life.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

50 comments Add your comment

Attack Dog

May 19th, 2012
10:17 am

Dixiecrats are allegic to ethics.

Fred ™

May 19th, 2012
10:18 am

The party of liars crooks and thieves is trying to ‘warn” people about making ethics laws? the Party of the people who elected Nathan Deal who resigned his seat in Congress to keep from being brought up on ethics charges is fighting stronger ethics laws? Those fine Christians like Don Balfour who steal all they can steal?

No, say it isn’t so…………

Jay

May 19th, 2012
10:19 am

Ralston continues to be an embarrassment to the state. Unfortunately he appears to fit in appropriately with the GOP. I appreciate the AJC’s efforts to staying after the ethics issue as a viable story. Some taxpayers get what Ralston is doing and care.

Attack Dog

May 19th, 2012
10:26 am

Wait a minute! Liberals are trying to use ethic to divide the Dixiecrats? Those who have no ethics from the one s who are unethical?

The Goobernator

May 19th, 2012
10:27 am

Next time you renew your car tag, ask for the state motto sticker “No Ethics, No Problem” in lieu of “In God We Trust” or your county name.

mui caliente

May 19th, 2012
10:31 am

Hey Attack Dog, I’ll bet most dixiecrats know how to spell “allergic”. You hillbilly buffoon!

wumpy

May 19th, 2012
10:40 am

Those darn “LIBERALS”. why can they not be easily corruptible and sell their vote to the highest corporate bidder? Its un Republican!

findog

May 19th, 2012
10:43 am

Ralston rode in on sexual ethics reform
lack of $ ethics is ok

Tom

May 19th, 2012
10:56 am

Remember HB 875!

[...] the AJC’s Jim Galloway reports, a group calling itself the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Government has responded to [...]

Opus

May 19th, 2012
11:55 am

Mui Caliente, instead of attacking someone for an obvious typo, why don’t you tell us why you think it’s appropriate to defend someone who does not believe in ethical behavior for legislators.

Three Jack

May 19th, 2012
12:03 pm

Don’t know which is worse, Ralston attacking those who seek ethical government or the responders who could care less about ethics when it comes to a woman’s body.

DannyX

May 19th, 2012
12:04 pm

I never knew. Wow.

The AJC’s conservative opinion columnist and ethics reform advocate Kyle Wingfield is actually a liberal.

That is some conspiracy the evil liberals are guilty of.

hiram

May 19th, 2012
12:17 pm

For those unfamiliar with Ralston’s background, this may help explain his position.

http://www.atlantaunfiltered.com/2011/12/12/transparency-house-speaker-david-ralston/

Look before I leap...

May 19th, 2012
12:39 pm

I make more than 3 times what Ralston makes and can’t qualify for a million dollar loan.
Be interesting to see if that loan balance mysteriously disappears in the next few years.

yuzeyurbrane

May 19th, 2012
2:23 pm

And Ralston is considered one of the more moderate Republicans.

catlady

May 19th, 2012
2:30 pm

Too bad the AJC didn’t go up to Fannin and Gilmer and poke around on that issue, findog.

The legislators, Republican and Democrat alike, are not willing to forego their unofficial perks. The worst part to me is that the Rs claim to be so holy, clean, patriotic, and above reproach, yet they are every bit as bad, unholy, dirty, and sleezy as anyone else.

joe

May 19th, 2012
2:53 pm

Best answer to political campaign and ethics reporting “If you get it, report it.”

Curzen

May 19th, 2012
2:54 pm

This just in, the GOP prefers to conduct their business unethically.

Bobby

May 19th, 2012
2:56 pm

David Ralston does not conduct his legal affairs ethically. Why should we expect him to want to conduct his legislative affairs ethically.

RAMZAD

May 19th, 2012
2:57 pm

How are you going to ask the CEO of sleaze to bring his girls in off the street?

Eli

May 19th, 2012
3:00 pm

Perks to the democrats? Like what? They have no agenda control in either chamber of the legislature. If they are still receiving gifts that tells me one thing: gifts are not intended to buy votes.

I really could care less if our legislators receive gifts. You morons all thought everything would be better if the GOP ran the state…and boy how wrong you all were. Things have never been worse…even before the recession GA was in a hole because of these ideologues. I know that running the state effectively is the least of concerns held by the right-wing. As long as the state GOP requires its members to hate gay people, Muslims, and all thing left-of-right this state will continue to be the laughing stock of the nation.

George W. Bush

May 19th, 2012
3:05 pm

Ethics is only something that Republicans use to batter Democrats, while everything they do is secretive and questionable.

Something big is going to happen in Georgia in the next few years. I wonder what financial companies paid off the legislature to move state retirement funds into riskier investments. This comes just a few weeks before JP Morgan Chase revealed its billion dollar losses. The retirees are not liable, but the taxpayers will be when the gamble does not pay off.

dig-deeper

May 19th, 2012
3:15 pm

Isn’t it amazing how the political scum rises to the top of the toilet bowl every time ethics reform is mentioned. Ralston should be ashamed of himself and we voters should flush the toilet.

Derwood

May 19th, 2012
3:22 pm

Ethics is not the brain sgtorm of the liberals speaker. It is a requst from those you are suppose to serve, the citizens of Georgia. We the people who do not hold office only desires those who do to hold themselves above all. You are to be our leaders, by example also. You sir, would not make a good boy scout.

Please

May 19th, 2012
3:24 pm

SERIOUSLY?! How do ethics “divide” a party? What a crock. This just exposes them as crooks. Shame on every single one of them.

GTT

May 19th, 2012
3:24 pm

I thought David Ralston was a good man. He is not a good man, because he refuses to do the right thing. That’s what a good man does. A bad man accepts $17,000 European vacations for his family from lobbyists. Good. Bad. It’s really, simple David and you have chosen the wrong one.

Lem

May 19th, 2012
3:26 pm

No wonder Ga has been named the most corrupt state in the country. But it’s our own fault. We keep voting for these clowns.

GTT

May 19th, 2012
3:28 pm

I’m ready to form a non-profit watchdog group which will ferret out every bit and whisper of shady deals up there and disseminate it online and through advertising, and call it “Georgia Citizens Ethics Commission.” If they won’t serve the people, the people can by God serve them and their shenanigans up for everyone to see.

Tony

May 19th, 2012
3:38 pm

The republicans defunded the ethics commission. Now they resist ethics reform and blame it on the democrats? Amazing!

The Snark

May 19th, 2012
3:38 pm

Enforcing ethics is wrong because it is a “liberal” idea? Good God, what is this man saying?

GTT, sign me up.

RAMZAD

May 19th, 2012
3:40 pm

Is not this the same Georgia the Center for Public Integrity branded the head poster child of political sleaze among these United States? Is Ralston, the political Madam, not one of the same people who call the study a hatchet job? Is this not the same Ralston who stood by and watch Deal disband the ethics bureau? So why are we in a discussion about the MO of this senior political prostitute?

Lugnut

May 19th, 2012
3:42 pm

Ralston and a host of others would be Democrats if they clould get elected as such. They only claim the Republican mantle because they stuck their finger in the ait to see which way the wind was blowing. Ralston a conservative? Not even on a bad day for Republicans. He and the rest of those Republicans just voted for a tax increase on the low and middle class family when they passed the title transfer fee on vehicles. And they did it to give big manufaturers a break. That’s conservative? Hardly. Its what the Democrats tried to do back when Zell was governor and they couldn’t figure it out. This group of Democrats figured it out and the first step was to watch after their own elected butt by “switching” to the Republican party. Completely without H O N O R.

Mama says

May 19th, 2012
3:46 pm

I am a conservative and Ralston, by this statement, shows us all that he most certainly is not.

Conservatives want the eyes and hands of government off us. Ralston wants the eyes and hands of the citizens off government.

By the way being a liberal elected official does not mean you want more citizen over site of the government so let’s not act like ethics and ethics reform are only important to liberals, you guys haven’t done any better with your ethics.

Ralston fan

May 19th, 2012
4:00 pm

Ralston is a great Georgia leader and a sane voice amid all the crazies.

hiram

May 19th, 2012
4:07 pm

The citizens would come out ahead if they could bid against the lobbyists. And, it could all be above board. Let’s say that a utility wanted a rate increase that would cost their customers 10’s of millions of dollars, and currently there total cash outlay to acheive this is a couple of plane tickets, and hotel rooms for a week. The citizens could save 10’s of millions of dollars by offering them a bigger bribe for them not to go along with the rate increase – say, fly them on a private corporate jet and upgrade their hotel stay. This is how it works folks. It seems that all politicians are for sale to the highest bidder, and you don’t have to look very hard to prove it.

double

May 19th, 2012
4:39 pm

I believe Arizona,about to take the title most corrupt.Ralston works hard for Georgia.His views on caps for lobbyist may be different to our thoughts,but not unethical.

Burroughston Broch

May 19th, 2012
4:39 pm

This is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue – both parties have abused this issue for centuries.

It is a citizens vs. politicians issue, and it’s high time that the citizens take control.

There is a potential downside – would-be effective politicians could lose interest if their hands are tied too tightly. Case in point: My grandfather told me of listening to Eugene Talmadge speak during his last and fourth Gubernatorial campaign in 1946. The gist of the speech was that yes, he stole from the State because Georgia didn’t pay him enough. However, he had stolen almost everything he needed during his three previous terms in office, while his opponent James Carmichael had not had a chance at the trough yet, and would steal more during the next four years than Talmadge would. He told the citizens that it would be cheaper to elect him than his opponent. He lost the general vote but won the county unit vote, and died before taking office.

I am ready to tie their hands tightly and take my chances with the quality of elected officials – it couldn’t get any worse.

Rabbit

May 19th, 2012
4:48 pm

We do need reform to address the trough trawling, but you can’t really blame The speaker for being Leary of any thing that group is for.

Away With The Far Right Idiots

May 19th, 2012
5:07 pm

“Ralston Fan” is obviously one of his large children…I assume they follow in Dad’s footsteps. How sad for a voter to think that way. They are crooks and want no restrictions. Recall Ralston’s wonderful family vacation a few Thanksgiving’s ago…and where is our high speed rail? Wow, but that vacation was great. Think it was worth about $17,000 plus. A bunch of pigs if you ask me.

mark

May 19th, 2012
5:07 pm

accordingto Chip Rodgers, (R) you can get forclosed upon, but it is not your problem. let the tax payers bail you outl (FDIC). Ethics, what ethics. I guess in georgia, only teachers get fired for ethics violation. Chip Rodgers out in 2012. I cannot believe i get to vote him out of office!!! I like Jerrymandering!!

Todd

May 19th, 2012
5:23 pm

Ralston and those voting with him to avoid the honesty of sunlight need to go.

Away With The Far Right Idiots

May 19th, 2012
5:24 pm

Go for it, Mark. Yes, out with the Far Right.

double

May 19th, 2012
5:33 pm

Yes this is the same folks that stood by and watched the governor disband the ethics bureau and kept quite.Jump all over the speaker for not agreeing with the caps.

Barack Hussein Obama

May 19th, 2012
5:37 pm

this is George Bush’s fault

Viewing from a Distance

May 19th, 2012
5:48 pm

It seems to me that Mr. Ralston is doing a most competent job in the environment in which he finds himself. It appears he is conforming with expertise to the historical mores and norms.

It also seems that many of you believe these ways of “doing things” should change.

I agree.

So how are you going to accomplish that? Talk is too easy. And results in nothing.

Politics Observer

May 19th, 2012
7:33 pm

Lobbyist spending during the session is pennies compared to the amount of contributions the Legislator receives from these groups. Ralston contributions last year were 80% from lobbyist, PACs, and Businesses. Chip Rogers contributions were 96% from these groups. The common voters don’t stand a chance with this type of money being thrown at the Elected Legislator. Once elected the Legislator doesn’t need to listen to the voter.

Just a taxpayer

May 20th, 2012
8:35 am

It appears the stumbling block on this small piece of ethics reform is the limit on lobbyists gifts. The amounts are already transparent, but the amount and type of information is overwhelming and arcane to most voters. Also the information is rarely reported for the rank and file politicians so voters have to dig for the information. Which most will not do.

The real ethics issue is campaign funding.

Big Hat

May 20th, 2012
8:49 am

When ethics are outlawed, only outlaws will have ethics.

GET REAL

May 20th, 2012
10:56 am

This state and its Republican political leadership are a laughing stock. Think about the argument Ralston makes: “let the people decide if they have a problem with their elected officials receiving a few gifts.” What? The people of Georgia? The voters of Georgia? Given the results of the last 2 election cycles, what can be said of them is they’re suckers who deserve to get fleeced by these good Christian politicians they’ve elected. The group of elected officials running this state from topp to bottom is THE most corrupt group we’ve ever had in office. Georgians, you deserve to get fleeced.