The head of Georgia’s ethics commission is accused of improperly intervening into an investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal, raising serious questions about the independence of the state panel charged with keeping watch over Georgia’s elected officials.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s exclusive report reveals allegations by current and former commission employees who said Holly LaBerge ordered documents removed from the official state investigative file on Deal and met with top Deal aides while the probe was ongoing.
LaBerge declined comment but Deal’s attorney, Randy Evans, said the five-member ethics commission and not LaBerge had the final say over the ethics complaints against Deal. He didn’t dispute claims that Deal’s staff had recruited her and added that her meetings with Deal’s camp involved trying to hash out a settlement on the ethics charges.
The major charges against Deal were dismissed and he was slapped with a small penalty for technical defects on his campaign filings.
The current and former employees said LaBerge bragged of her relationship with Deal and boasted that she made the governor’s legal troubles disappear.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.