State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, the only dissenting vote on the Senate Ethics Committee last week in the matter of Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfour, has sent a copy of his “minority report” laying out his position for a harsher punishment.
Balfour was fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $300 and change in additional restitution. Read the entirety of McKoon’s report here. This appears to be the gist:
Without getting into the question of intent on the part of [Balfour], the facts are that false reports were filed with the Legislative Fiscal Office by [Balfour] and that [Balfour] received monies he was not entitled to under the law. The Committee decided it was sufficient to fine [Balfour], ask for further restitution to be paid and that the Audit Subcommittee be appointed and begin meeting.
The Minority [i.e., McKoon] reviewed the case of State Senator Roscoe Dean, who was censured by the State Senate in 1976 for similar offenses, namely filing false expense reports, including claiming trips from his home in Jesup, Georgia[,] to Atlanta on dates when in fact he was registered at a hotel in the Bahamas.
Senator Dean was prosecuted on theft charges, and while those charges ended in a mistrial he was still censured by the Georgia State Senate on February 5, 1976.
In addition to charges of filing false expense reports in this case, [Balfour] also admitted to violation of O.C.G.A. 28-1-8 which provides for the Audit Subcommittee to review the expense reports of all Senators. In the view of the Minority, this compounds the other offense as by [Balfour’s] failure to appoint the Audit Subcommittee he removed the safeguard against false filings, not just in his case but in the case of any Senator that might have done so over the last decade…..
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider