Georgia Unfiltered

Search This Site

09 September 2010

Barnes Rolls Out Comprehensive Ethics Reform Package

The following is a press release from the gubernatorial campaign of Roy Barnes.

Former Governor Roy Barnes unveiled his comprehensive ethics reform package on Thursday, promising to fight corruption and restore confidence in the very building he was standing in front of: Georgia's State Capitol.

A former Cobb County prosecutor, Barnes has a long record of "walking the walk" on ethics reform. In 1999, Roy passed legislation to expand the scope of Georgia's open records and open meetings laws. As Governor, his first act was to sign an order banning all lobbyist gifts to employees working in the executive branch. In May 2010, Barnes released 25 years of complete tax returns on his campaign website - making Roy 2010 the most transparent statewide campaign in Georgia's history. Additionally, when Barnes launched his gubernatorial bid in 2009, he announced that his campaign would not accept contributions from registered Georgia lobbyists - a pledge his campaign has strictly adhered to.

The Barnes Plan to Restore Ethical Leadership to State Government includes:

  • Open government to the people by promoting access and transparency, strengthening Georgia's disclosure laws and limiting lobbyist influence.

    • Close the loophole that allows the General Assembly to be excluded from Georgia’s Open Records Law
    • Mandate that all candidates for statewide office release seven years of complete income tax returns, including all schedules and addendums.
    • Eliminate lobbyist and vendor gifts.
    • Require state elected officials to adhere to election year disclosure requirements every year.
    • Strengthen transparency by requiring that state vendors who earn over $10,000 in non-salary earnings from the state register as vendor lobbyists.
    • Prohibit any executive employee from having private meetings with a state or federal elected official about his personal business
    • Reveal any contract or business arrangement with state of Georgia within 10 years

  • Fight corruption and increase ethical standards by bolstering corruption laws, strengthening the authority of the State Ethics Commission and implementing ethics training for agency heads and senior staff.

    • Strengthen Georgia's anti-corruption laws to ensure that they are as strong as or stronger than the federal RICO laws.
    • Strengthen the authority of the State Ethics Commission by allowing them to initiate investigations based on reliable and publicly disseminated information.

  • End conflicts of interest by requiring statewide elected officials to put their financial interests into a blind trust and holding appointed board members financially accountable.

“The Gold Dome should shine as a beacon of honesty and openness, but we all know that has not been the case," said Barnes. "It’s been the home of secret, inside deals. We need to return the Gold Dome to the people and let the sunshine through. I promise to restore confidence in state government by opening government to the people, fighting corruption, cracking down on conflicts of interest and increasing ethical standards under the Gold Dome.”

“The people deserve the Gold Dome to work for them, not the special interests. And when I am Governor, it will,” said Barnes.