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Governor Perdue To Continue Push for Stronger Ethics Legislation

Tuesday, September 30, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


General Assembly has a new opportunity to act in the upcoming legislative session

Macon - During a press conference today at Mercer Law School, Governor Sonny Perdue confirmed that he will continue his push for comprehensive ethics reform. Governor Perdue submitted an extensive ethics package in the 2003 legislative session, which passed the Senate but was killed in the Democratic controlled House.

"In just a few months, the General Assembly will convene for a new session and will have a new opportunity to restore the bonds of trust with the people of our great state," Perdue said. "I expect them to do the right thing for Georgia by passing comprehensive ethics reform."

Governor Perdue's ethics reform package is guided by three principles and supported by numerous action-oriented initiatives:

1. Citizens of this State have the right to know how public servants are serving their interests.

  • Individuals lobbying for contracts with the state should be required to register as lobbyists and file disclosure reports.
  • Loopholes in the current financial disclosure requirements should be closed and other provisions should be strengthened.
  • Public officials should not take action on matters in which they have a direct financial or personal conflict of interest.
  • Lobbyists should be required to disclose their fees.
  • Candidates should be prohibited from transferring campaign contributions to another candidate.

2.  Citizens of Georgia should expect public officials to perform their public duties and responsibilities in the public interest.

  • Public officers should be prohibited from lobbying for one year after they leave office.
  • State and local employees should be protected against retaliation for reporting a violation of or noncompliance with a law, rule or regulation.
  • Elected or appointed State officials should be prohibited from advocating for or causing the advancement, appointment, or employment of a family member.
  • A person should not be considered for a judicial appointment if that person made a contribution to the Governor within 30 days of the occurrence of the vacancy on the bench.
  • Members of the General Assembly and public officers elected statewide should be prohibited from soliciting campaign funds or pledges for campaign contributions during the legislative session.
  • Public officials should be prohibited from receiving honoraria and should be prohibited from accepting any gift valued at more than $25.

3.  Citizens of Georgia should be made aware of public officials' unethical conduct.

  • All campaign disclosure reports and finance reports that are currently filed with the Secretary of State's Office should be filed with the Ethics Commission. Funding and the computer system currently in the Secretary of State's budget will be transferred to the Ethics Commission.
  • Technical changes in the Ethics in Government Act should be made to correct the lack of clarity in many of its provisions that are the source of many of the formal complaints before the State Ethics Commission. This will allow the Ethics Commission to better focus its resources on cases of true wrong-doing.

On his first day in office, Governor Perdue signed an executive order establishing a strict code of ethics for state government employees and another creating the state's first Office of Inspector General charged with preventing fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in state agencies.