Ethics Commission takes closer look at Alliance donation - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ethics Commission takes closer look at Alliance donation

June 24, 2005

Albany- The Southwest Georgia Alliance for Progress celebrated the day they found out MCLB-Albany was not on the preliminary list of BRAC Closings.

The group has worked and raised money for two years to help keep the base and the more than 3,000 jobs it brings to the area.

"The mission of the Alliance for Progress is to create an environment in Southwest Georgia, MCLB-Albany, where growth and prosperity can occur," said Tim Martin, CEO & President of the Albany-Dougherty Chamber of Commerce.

The state Ethics Commission voted last Friday to investigate donations the Southwest Georgia Alliance for Progress made to Dougherty County's special sales tax campaign, said Teddy Lee with the commission.

A campaign contribution disclosure report filed December 31, 2004 by Citizens for Good Cents shows the group received a total of $30,000 from the alliance for progress. The alliance has raised more than $605,000. Over half is private dollars and almost 90 percent is from Dougherty County Donors.

The law says giving public money to campaigns is illegal.

"The law is very, very clear that private dollars can be," Martin said. "Not a penny of public dollars were spent to advocate for SPLOST."

Martin says the $30,000 that was donated to the campaign was from private funds only and governments that donated public money did not help fund a Dougherty County campaign.

"They can be assured that not one penny of public dollars was spent in this effort," he said. "Not one penny from outside of Dougherty County."

The alliance may soon be turning over financial reports to prove their case to the ethics commission, while still fighting for the base.

"We want to make sure that we can get to September 8 and MCLB-Albany stays off of any closure list," Martin said.

So more than $220 million of annual payroll doesn't roll away to another city.