Douglas Chalmers Op-Ed Published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitutional, “New Ethics Law Brings More Accountability, Transparency” Atlanta Journal-Constitution – June 15, 2010.

There is nothing easy about ethics reform. As lawyers who represent elected officials (one of us is counsel to House Speaker David Ralston’s campaign committee, and the other has represented two U.S. speakers of the House), we can confirm that it takes public servants of character and determination to take on this issue amidst the institutional opposition to any change that holds politicians and lobbyists more accountable. In Georgia, Speaker Ralston said he would make it happen, and he did.

No ethics reform is ever enough for some, and critics are always quick to attack any action as too little. In the case of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act passed overwhelmingly by the Georgia Assembly and signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, however, such attacks ignore the significant improvements the bill will make to Georgia’s ethics laws. As lawyers who were invited to testify and/or provide input on parts of the bill, our view is that the bill is a significant step forward. In a world where the tendency is “all or nothing,” legislators in both political parties should be commended for opting for better. Here are the specifics.

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