Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Deal appoints panel to consider Balfour suspension

Posted By on Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Gov. Nathan Deal has tapped two Republican lawmakers and a former judge to decide whether state Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville should remain in office following his indictment for allegedly misusing his legislative expense account.

Deal this morning announced that House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal of Warner Robins, Senate Majority Leader Ronnie Chance of Tyrone, and retired Chief Justice George Carley would be responsible for deciding the fate of Balfour's career under the Gold Dome.

Last month, a Fulton County Grand Jury charged the Snellville lawmaker with 16 counts of making a false certificate, one count of theft by taking, and one count of making a false statement and writing. The charges followed a March 2012 formal ethics complaint that alleged Balfour improperly tried to request mileage reimbursements when he was meeting with lobbyists . Balfour's lawyer told the Associated Press that the legislator made a mistake and wasn't attempting to misappropriate cash.

Meanwhile, Georgia Tea Party Patriots' Debbie Dooley berated the Senate Committee on Assignments for failing to remove Balfour from his committee assignments following his indictment. According to the Tea Party leader, Balfour still holds those positions.

"They have taken NO ACTION whatsoever," she said in a Facebook post. "By not taking action they are condoning his possible illegal behavior.

The three-person panel will have until November 15 to make a final decision.

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