WASHINGTON — The independent ethics body that House Republicans abandoned plans to overhaul this week has a record of calling out Georgia congressmen.
One of your insiders and the AJC’s Willoughby Mariano report in today’s paper that several Georgia lawmakers, including Gov. Nathan Deal and former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, have had run-ins with the panel in recent years:
The Office of Congressional Ethics targeted Gov. Nathan Deal in 2010 over money he made through a salvage business while he served in the House. In 2014, it accused former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, also a Republican, of using taxpayer funds to pay for a consultant to his failed Senate bid.
The Georgia Democratic Party on Tuesday called on the state’s 10 Republicans serving in the House to disclose how they voted during Monday’s closed-door meeting, during which 119 Republicans voted to overhaul the ethics watchdog.
Only two of Georgia’s 10 House Republicans responded to the AJC’s requests for information on how they voted. Both Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville and Drew Ferguson of West Point said they supported changing the ethics watchdog.
Woodall in a statement said the proposed changes would “strengthen the integrity of the House Ethics process.”
In an interview shortly after he was sworn in as Georgia’s 3rd District Congressman, Ferguson said the status quo at the Office of Congressional Ethics provides “no due process” for members of Congress since there is no way to fight against false allegations, particularly those made anonymously.
“What that vote was about was taking a government entity that had no congressional oversight that we’ve spent millions of dollars on and quite candidly have seen very little out of,” he said.
“One of the things the folks of Georgia sent me to do is to go and cut out programs that duplicate services, waste money and don’t get results,” Ferguson added. He instead suggested bolstering the lawmaker-run House Ethics Committee.