Gov. Deal picks former member of his team for Georgia ethics panel

Gov. Nathan Deal appointed his 2014 inaugural co-chairman and former workforce agency director to the state ethics commission on Friday.

Deal chose Tricia Pridemore, who was his choice to head the state Republican Party in 2011 and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2014, to the seat he’d originally given to former ethics commission director Rick Thompson.

Thompson turned down the appointment after questions were raised about his eligibility, since he had registered to lobby for a company that provides disclosure services to candidates, elected officials and others regulated by the commission.

State law says no one may be appointed to a commission that regulates a company the individual represented for one year after the person ends his lobbyist registration.

While it’s unclear if Thompson’s company would be regulated by the commission, the concerns raised were enough to lead him to refuse the appointment.

Pridemore was the state director for Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project in 2010 when she backed Deal’s campaign. The next year, she was the governor’s choice to become chairwoman of the state GOP, but Republicans rejected his pick at their convention. He then appointed her to head the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development and worked to dramatically increase the agency’s budget the next year.

She came in third in the 2014 GOP primary for the 11th District congressional seat. That post is now held by U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk.