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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Barge calls for change in ethics oversight

Camie Young

Camie Young

At a time when Gov. Nathan Deal is under fire involving allegations of a cover up at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, one of his challengers is taking the opportunity to add a plank to his ethics reform policy.

State School Superintendent John Barge, who announced he would challenge Deal in the Republican primary next year, said he would create a bipartisan group to appoint members to the ethics commission, instead of making the appointments himself as governor.

“The right answer is to remove this commission from under the direction of the very people it was designed to watch. No one should be above reproach, including the governor,” Barge said. “I will return true ethical transparency to the operation of the Governor’s office in Georgia. I desire to bring ‘ethical standards’ back to the forefront.”

Barge proposes a bipartisan committee that includes the chairmen of both the state Republican and Democrat parties, the majority and minority leaders of both the House and Senate and the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

“These seven people would give us a much more even-handed appointment process that includes representatives of all the people in a bipartisan manner. It would mean that the governor no longer has direct political control over the commission,” he said. “This is important to reestablishing trust in our government officials for all the obvious reasons.”

Barge has described his campaign mission as E3, with education, ethics and economic development as the tenets.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

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