AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Ga. House leader Jon Burns failed to disclose payments

Georgia law requires politicians to publicly disclose income from state agencies on personal financial disclosure statements available for anyone to see.

Newly installed House Majority Leader Jon Burns, R-Newington, failed to disclose at least $120,000 in such payments, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Georgia News Lab investigation found.

Most of the undisclosed money came from the Department of Natural Resources, which paid Burns' agricultural business for supplies. That's significant because Burns for years has served on the House House Game, Fish & Parks Committee, and was its chairman. The committee oversees legislation relevant to DNR.

Allowing voters to know about potential conflicts of interest between lawmakers and the agencies they regulate is exactly why Georgia has a law requiring elected officials to disclose how they make their money.

Burns, who lives in mostly rural Effingham County, said he believed his reports were accurate and that his compliance with the law had been "pretty good for a country boy."

Read the full story here.

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About the Author

Ken Foskett has been an AJC reporter and editor since 1989 and is the Senior Editor/Investigations.