June 10, 2010

In Georgia, former Rep. Nathan Deal now facing state ethics probe

By CREW Staff

Former Congressman Nathan Deal avoided a probe by the House Ethics Committee by resigning. He quit to run for Governor on March 21, 2010.

But, the day after Deal resigned, the Office of Congressional Ethics’ (OCE) issued a report on its investigation into Rep. Deal’s misdeeds. That OCE report – initiated by CREW’s August 2009 complaint against the congressman – found that Mr. Deal had indeed violated House ethics rules by using congressional resources to influence Georgia state officials for his personal financial benefit. Most damningly, however, the OCE found that Mr. Deal provided incorrect information on his personal financial disclosure forms. Importantly, OCE issued the damning report after Deal resigned.

The House Ethics Committee, however, never pursued the case after Deal left the House.

But, Deal isn't out of the woods. He's facing a state ethics probe now:

The state Ethics Commission is investigating a complaint filed against former congressman and current gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal over his use of campaign funds to pay legal fees to defend himself in a federal ethics probe.

The Associated Press reported in April that Deal, a Republican, had used more than $19,000 in contributions from his state campaign account to pay legal fees related to a congressional ethics investigation.

The probe ended when Deal resigned from Congress in March to run for governor.

The ethics complaint, filed by Alpharetta resident Elizabeth Ott, said Deal violated state law by using campaign funds for his legal defense.

In her complaint, obtained by AP on Wednesday, Ott said it "would defy logic as well as the letter and intent of the statute" for a candidate's state campaign account to be tapped for an investigation related to a separate, federal office.


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