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Saturday, April 10, 2010

AP: Deal used campaign cash to pay ethics probe lawyer fees

click to enlarge Political witch hunts lurk around every corner
  • Political witch hunts lurk around every corner

John Oxendine took a break from being the subject of bad news for a change and graciously allowed GOP gubernatorial opponent Nathan Deal a moment in the spotlight.

From the Associated Press' Shannon McCaffrey:

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Nathan Deal tapped his state gubernatorial campaign account to pay more than $19,000 in legal fees to defend against congressional ethics allegations.

Deal's lawyer, Randy Evans, called the move "perfectly legal."

Of course! Campaign funds used to pay for Web sites, polls, yard signs and the like. And lawyer fees to fend off a congressional investigation. Those go hand in hand. Throw in a quote from Bill Bozarth of Common Cause saying the expenditure "doesn't smell good" and we've got ourselves a Friday afternoon media splash!

Deal's latest bit of bad news stems from a 2009 AJC investigation that showed Deal lobbied state officials to preserve a contract in the glamorous automobile salvage industry that generated big bucks for his company.

An independent congressional panel launched an investigation and determined Deal acted improperly. He denied all wrongdoing, and instead blamed the allegations on a "political witch hunt." A campaign spokesman echoed that line for McCaffrey today, saying that Deal "adhered closely to the rules while fighting these attacks that stem from the worst kind of politics."

Anyhoo, there's your GOP gubernatorial race bad news of the week. Considering that candidates only filed their campaign contribution reports on Wednesday, there's sure to be many more gems to be discovered. Join us as we dig into these files — or just head out and enjoy what's supposed to be a lovely weekend. Your call.

(Courtesy Deal for Governor)

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