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1,901 Georgia elected officials failed to file disclosures on time | News

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1,901 Georgia elected officials failed to file disclosures on time
News, Politics
1,901 Georgia elected officials failed to file disclosures on time

ROSWELL-- One thousand nine hundred and one elected officials in Georgia missed a deadline to disclose their campaign finances by June 30, according to the state Ethics Commission. 

Most of them are down-ballot politicians little-known outside their locales.  11Alive News obtained the list after filing a request under the Georgia Open Records Act.

RELATED: List of non/late-filers as of June 30, 2011

One of those named is the mayor of Roswell.

"I thought I'd filed everything, so it's a surprise," said Mayor Jere Wood.  "I'll have to look into it," he said after an 11Alive News reporter informed Wood of his presence on the list.

Wood is a city hall veteran with a modest campaign war chest and a treasurer who runs it. Wood ran afoul of a newly-enacted law that requires local politicians to file campaign reports directly with the state ethics commission.

Wood speculates most of the 1,901 elected officials probably didn't know they were required to file.  He says it's unfair to small town politicians who are paid little or nothing for public service, and raise little money to run for election. 

Wood is paid $40,000 annually as mayor.  He does not count himself among them, he emphasizes.

"It's a trap for the uneducated, unwary small town politician who is a volunteer," Wood said.

The legislature passed the updated disclosure law this year but at the same time, cut the budget of the ethics commission that's supposed to enforce it. The commission has been in a state of upheaval all summer, as it downsizes and reorganizes.

Wood says the legislature has simply created a paperwork obstacle that does little to advance the cause of transparency.

"It's not about ethics. Its about bureaucratic filing."

With 1,901 elected officials on its late list, the Ethics Commission recognizes it may have caught many of them flatfooted.  The commission will consider waiving fines for some late filers.





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