A non-profit, non-partisan citizens’ lobby organization wants voters around the state to rally for a stronger body watching over elected officials.
How do you know when someone you elected has done something unethical? There is a state agency appointed to keep watch over those you trust to govern, but Common Cause Georgia believes that agency needs to be stronger.
William Perry, the group’s Executive Director told News Channel 6 before its Augusta town hall meeting, “If our elected officials aren’t playing by the rules then, we’re all in trouble.”
Perry is traveling across the Peach state with Common Cause Georgia holding town hall meetings to sound the alarm on what he is calling an ethics crisis with the state ethics commission.
“It’s been unable to function. It’s been rocked by personnel issues, a lot of which have to do with a lack of funding provided by the state legislature,” he said.
That ethics commission, known as the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, polices every public official from Governor Nathan Deal to people elected in the CSRA.
“There are five commissioners. Three of which are appointed by the governor. So, you can see right away with an agency that’s charged with investigating our elected officials, when there are complaints against the governor, you have three out of five members who were appointed by that governor,” explained Perry.
Perry and his group point to a State Integrity Investigation that found Georgia at a high risk for possible corruption. That’s why they are calling for members of the Supreme Court to appoint people to the commission. They also want more money set aside from the General Fund to go toward the ethics commission.
Perry said, “When you’ve got a break down in the system of ethics, any issue you care about whether it’s your sidewalks, education, police enforcement, all of those issues end up being challenged by an unethical system.”
Perry added Common Cause Georgia will continue town hall meetings around the state. At the conclusion of those meeting, a report will be issued with recommendations in hopes of having a legislator introduce a bill in the next session.