Hunter spokesman: Gwinnett ethics board ‘entirely unconstitutional’

Credit: Henry P. Taylor

Credit: Henry P. Taylor

The ultimate fate of the ethics complaint against Gwinnett Commissioner Tommy Hunter may not be decided in the county he serves, but by a judge in DeKalb County.

Two Gwinnett County attorneys filed their ethics complaint against Hunter on Feb. 6, about three weeks after he called civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis a "racist pig" on Facebook.

A hearing officer gave the complaint the go-ahead last week and triggered the assembly of Gwinnett’s first-ever ethics board, which will have the power to investigate the case and, if it sees fit, recommend penalties ranging from written reprimand to removal from office.

But while all that’s going on, a case challenging the constitutionality of certain aspects of ethics boards like Gwinnett’s is being litigated in neighboring DeKalb County — meaning that, regardless of what Gwinnett’s board decides, a judge’s ruling several miles to the west may determine the outcome.

And if the comments of Seth Weathers, a consultant who has acted as Hunter’s spokesman, are any indication, the commissioner’s team will be watching closely.

“The idea of a private group assembled to remove an official elected by voters is entirely unconstitutional,” Weathers recently told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Doesn’t matter what rules a county implements.”

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