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Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Oxendine's leftover campaign account balloons another $200K


For the second time in a little over two months, former Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine's accounting of how much remains in his campaign account from his failed 2010 run for governor has grown. Read the updated story on my AJC.com here.

Oxendine's handling of his campaign finances in that race are currently the subject of a series of charges made in an amended complaint filed in late September by the state ethics commission.

Oxendine reported in January that his account went from more than $500,000 in the bank to zero during 2014.

After the Atlanta Journal-Constitution questioned how that happened - given the fact that he reported spending almost no money in 2014 - the former commissioner said he must have made a filing error. He amended his report in August to show about $518,000 left in the account.

In his latest accounting, done a month after the commission filed its amended complaint, Oxendine now reports having $723,000 left over, including $237,000 worth of previously undisclosed investments.

The latest filing may lead to more questions by commission investigators, who have already accused Oxendine of accepting contributions above the legal limit and improperly spending more than $200,000 on runoff and general election races he never ran.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  reported in August that Oxendine raised about $750,000 for the Republican gubernatorial runoff and general election, even though he finished fourth in the primary that year and never got to run in those later races.

Commission officials said under state law, Oxendine was supposed to return  money he raised for the runoff and general election to donors or, if that wasn't possible, give it to charity.

Oxendine's lawyer, Douglas Chalmers, said Oxendine was not required to give it back to donors and that, at most, the former commissioner had "technical" defects in the financial reports his campaign filed during the race.

He also said the statute of limitations precludes the commission from coming after Oxendine for how he handled the finances of his 2010 campaign.

Oxendine, meanwhile, has called the investigation into his 2010 campaign a waste of taxpayer money.

The latest complaints may be taken up by the commission at its next meeting Nov. 12.

Read more here.

 

 


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About the Author

James Salzer has covered state government and politics in Georgia since 1990.