State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, said Thursday that he will not pursue censure or other punishment against state Sen. Don Balfour as he acknowledged what many at the Georgia Capitol felt it was time to do: move on.
“It is time to close the door on this ugly episode and get back to work,” McKoon said.
McKoon’s announcement, which he made on the floor of the Senate, follows an unusually personal speech Balfour made Monday in which the Snellville Republican spoke of humility, of overcoming a wrong and of how much he wanted to move on.
Once one of the most powerful politicians in Georgia, Balfour was acquitted last month of 18 felony counts related to expense reports he filed with the General Assembly over a five-year period. The former chairman of the Senate Rules Committee was accused of intentionally taking reimbursement for expenses to which he was not entitled — charges that could have brought him up to 10 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
The charges that led to the trial followed a complaint by McKoon about Balfour’s expense habit. That complaint had prompted the state Attorney General’s Office to begin what turned into a year-and-a-half investigation.
McKoon had noted Monday that the state constitution would have allowed the Senate to censure or otherwise punish Balfour even though he was found not guilty.