The back story, as reported in the AJC, is that when it came time in 2002 for an arson inspector in Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine's office to replace his 1993 state-issued car, the commissioner came up with the brilliant idea of giving the inspector his own 2-year-old car and getting himself a new vehicle.
When a state department reminded the commissioner that then-Gov. Roy Barnes had placed a moratorium on issuing new cars to elected officials, Oxendine said he was going to buy it anyway, according to the report.
And buy it he did. As is his style when it comes to public funds, Oxendine pulled out all the stops: a top-of-the-line Crown Victoria with a $633 CD player, $700 leather seats and an $832 "pursuit suspension" package so he can pretend he's Kojak.
All told, he racked up $6,363 in upgrades for a grand total of $25,689 -- all for a car that he wasn't even supposed to buy.
And if history is any guide, Oxendine probably won't have it for long. Having totaled two state vehicles in the past five years -- including a notorious incident in which he ran a stop light and plowed into a pickup because he was late for a ribbon-cutting -- Oxendine is the worst elected official behind the wheel since Hosea Williams.
The report by Inspector General James Sehorn, which accuses Oxendine of "blatant disregard for established authority," is probably causing a stink in GOP circles because it attacks a fellow Republican, but facts this obvious are hard to ignore.
Maybe Oxendine should simply have AFLAC and the other insurance companies he regulates chip in and buy him his next car. After all, they already fund his re-election campaigns.