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Gayle in MD
03-31-2010, 11:57 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">WASHINGTON — Nathan Deal, a former Republican congressman who is running for Georgia governor, resigned from the House last week in a move that seemed certain to end an ethics investigation that could have proved politically embarrassing.

But on Monday, the Office of Congressional Ethics released its report anyway, concluding that Mr. Deal appeared to have improperly used his office to pressure Georgia officials to continue a vehicle inspection program that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for his family’s auto salvage business.

The 138-page report details how Mr. Deal and his chief of staff intervened in 2008 and 2009 on behalf of the company, Recovery Services Inc., also known as Gainesville Salvage and Disposal. The report also said Mr. Deal had improperly failed to disclose that he was a corporate officer at the company, meaning that the $75,000 he earned from the business in 2008 violated a House limit on members’ outside income.

The release of the report is certain to complicate Mr. Deal’s bid for governor. He is in a tight race for the Republican nomination, facing opponents who include Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, and John W. Oxendine, the state’s insurance and safety fire commissioner.

Mr. Deal, in a statement, rejected the ethics office findings. “This is a politically motivated witch hunt,” he said. “I have done nothing wrong and am not going to let this tarnish my 30-year record of public service.”

Reports by the office, which essentially serves as a grand jury that does preliminary investigations, usually become public only when the House ethics committee formally takes up a matter and votes to punish members or to clear them of accusations.

After voting against the health care bill, Mr. Deal resigned on March 21, just minutes before a deadline that would have required the House ethics committee to investigate the accusations further or dismiss the case. The committee must take such a step within 45 days of receiving a preliminary investigative report from the ethics office.

Once Mr. Deal resigned, the formal ethics office inquiry apparently ended because the office generally has jurisdiction over only sitting members of Congress. But Mr. Deal knew of the accusations, which were first reported in August by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Unwilling to be outmaneuvered, the Office of Congressional Ethics — created in 2008 to serve as an independent ethics watchdog on Capitol Hill — decided by a 6-to-0 board vote on Friday to release its findings anyway. “Providing information to the public, improving transparency, is a central element of the O.C.E.’s mission,” Jon Steinman, a spokesman, said Monday.

Eric Gray, a spokesman for the Georgia Democratic Party, predicted that the report would destroy Mr. Deal’s candidacy. “It tanks it,” Mr. Gray said. “Deal has been in office for nearly two decades. He knows better.”

But Bill Crane, a Georgia political analyst and former aide to a Georgia governor, said the ultimate impact on Mr. Deal’s race for governor was unclear.

“I don’t believe anything in politics is fatal, except for a bullet,” Mr. Crane said. “But it is certainly not helpful.”

The ethics office inquiry found that Mr. Deal had described his income from the salvage business in his official financial disclosure report as dividends, indicating that he was a passive investor. But his 2008 tax return showed that the money was paid as wages, according to the report. Those wages — $75,000 in 2008 — exceeded a House rule that prohibits members from collecting more than $25,830 in outside earned income that year.

Mr. Deal, 67, who had served in the House since 1993, acknowledged to ethics investigators that he and his House chief of staff had met with state officials last March to raise objections to a proposed change in a state program requiring that vehicles involved in accidents undergo inspections before they could be resold.

The auto salvage company has long operated one of a half-dozen state-sanctioned inspection stations, earning a total of $638,400 in 2007 and 2008, the report says, even though state inspectors performed the work.

Under the proposal, the inspection program would be turned over to the private sector, eliminating the regional monopoly. Mr. Deal, in a statement he provided to the ethics investigators, said his objections were based on his belief that the proposed changes would compromise public safety because state inspectors would no longer do the vehicle checks.

“I was acting as a public servant addressing matters of public interest in which I had some expertise,” he said in the statement, blaming his political opponents in Georgia for the inquiry.

The report by the Office of Congressional Ethics, however, concluded that Mr. Deal had apparently used his House office to promote his self interest. It also raised questions about the actions of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who it said helped Mr. Deal press his case to state officials. Mr. Cagle’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said she was glad the report had been made public.

“I don’t think members should be able to short-circuit ethics investigations by resigning,” she said. “When someone is a public figure and is alleged to have engaged in wrongdoing, the public has a right to know what happened, particularly in this case, where Deal is running again for public office.”


An earlier version of this article misstated the year Nathan Deal joined the House. It was 1993, not 2007.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/us/30ethics.html?src=me&ref=us

Deeman3
03-31-2010, 12:04 PM
I am so surprised that this is all the GOP's fault. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

No wonder those squeeky clean Democrats are upset!

Gayle in MD
03-31-2010, 12:10 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Deeman3</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I am so surprised that this is all the GOP's fault. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

No wonder those squeeky clean Democrats are upset! </div></div>

I'll say! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

Under
03-31-2010, 12:53 PM
I see you failed to mention the cold cash found in his freezer, or is that an exclusive Democratic Patented method?

Spread it out a bit. There is plenty of blame to be cast.

LWW
03-31-2010, 01:13 PM
So, when found to be involved in a scandal ... he resigned. Probably under severe heat from his own party.

It's a shame the demokrooks don't do the same thing with Rangel. And Dodd. And Obama. And Reid. And Clinton. And Hastings. And many, many, many more.

LWW

bamadog
03-31-2010, 04:33 PM
In the last 30 years nearly 70% of the criminal offenses committed by sitting US Congressmen was committed by Democrats.
They nearly have a monopoly.