To Disclose or not to Disclose
The Times reported that three candidates for State House 25 (James Mills’ seat) failed to report their campaign contribution reports on time: Bobby Banks, Paul Wayne Godfrey and Todd W. Reed. As of 11 am on November 2nd, only Todd W. Reed has submitted his report.
O.C.G.A. § 21-5-2 says, “It is declared to be the policy of this state, in furtherance of its responsibility to protect the integrity of the democratic process and to ensure fair elections for … state offices… to institute and establish a requirement of public disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures relative to the seeking of such offices… Further, it is the policy of this state that the state’s public affairs will be best served by disclosures of significant private interests of public officers and officials which may influence the discharge of their public duties and responsibilities. The General Assembly further finds that it is for the public to determine whether significant private interests of public officers have influenced the state’s public officers to the detriment of their public duties and responsibilities and, in order to make that determination and hold the public officers accountable, the public must have reasonable access to the disclosure of the significant private interests of the public officers of this state.
To show a little leniency, it should be pointed out that since the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission cut over to the electronic system, there have been glitches. However, the glitches appear to have been with fines that were inappropriately charged. You can go into the filing schedule page, select “Candidate” for type of campaign, “2011” for report year, “Special Election” for report, and election date as November 8th to get the proper dates to file to see when you need to have your information in the system. The results indicate that the report has to be filed by 10/31/2011. Anything filed late should bring a fine ($125 if filed by 11/7).
These 3 who have failed to file in a timely manner are preventing the public from having reasonable access to their reports. They would like for us to trust them with our vote, but they don’t want us to see who may be influencing them while in office. Worse yet, perhaps they just don’t understand the laws and now they want to go down to Atlanta to help write the laws?
We might be able to give Mr. Reed a pass since this seems to be his first campaign, but what about Godfrey and Banks? This isn’t their first rodeo in the public arena. Bobby Banks was a former commissioner and Dr. Godfrey was just in an election last year.
I don’t anticipate that the late disclosures will make much noise in the campaign, but if any of these three make the runoff, then I can assure you that you will see more about it in your mailbox or hear more about it in one of those robo calls. Hey guys, you only have one chance to make a first impression, and it looks like you blew it on this one.
Hugh Hall County Akston