Atlanta attorney Jake Evans was elected Wednesday to chair the state ethics agency charged with policing the ethics of Georgia politicians and lobbyists, as it prepares to handle a crush of new cases linked to this year’s election.
Evans was tapped two years ago by Gov. Nathan Deal to fill an open spot on the board vacated by Tricia Pridemore, a former member of his administration who was recently elected to serve on the Public Service Commission.
An attorney with Holland & Knight, Evans earned his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Georgia and is president of the Atlanta Young Republicans.
He is the son of Randy Evans, Deal's long-time private attorney who is now the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg.
The panel, formally known as the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Commission, is a five-member group charged with collecting campaign finance reports, issuing advisory opinions and dispensing penalties for violations.
The commission was plagued for years by litigation over claims that Deal’s administration pressured the panel to make complaints against him “go away,” accusations of dirty dealing and back-stabbing among staff.
Whistleblower lawsuits from ex-employees – including a former executive director - forced the state to pay out millions of dollars.
After years of inaction, a backlog of more than 150 cases was finally cleared in 2017 - just in time to handle for the agency to handle a slew of new complaints filed by citizens, watchdog groups and political adversaries.
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