Following a GBI investigation into allegations of ethics violations, state Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, is no longer chair of the Senate's Rules Committee. (The committee is a group of senators that decides which bills can be voted on by the Georgia Senate.)
The investigation by the GBI was completed in December of 2012. The outcome, however, has not been made public. According to the AJC, "the GBI’s involvement marked the first criminal investigation of a state senator since 2005."
Balfour was eventually fined $5,000 for filing inaccurate travel reports to claim expenses by the Senate Ethics Committee, although he maintains that it was a simple mistake, not a breach of ethics.
Sen. Jeff Mullis has replaced Balfour as the Senate Rules Committee Chair.
Last June, Snellville resident and hopeful state senate candidate Travis Bowden was among those calling for Balfour's removal from the position for allegedly billing the state for mileage while he was out of town, although he was not on official state business.
Additionally, according to Bowden, he failed during his ten-year appointment to create a subcommittee that would review legislative expenses.
“It’s suspicious that Senator Balfour would submit these false reports knowing they would not be audited," Bowden said then, as previously reported on Snellville Patch. "Since Senator Balfour has violated Georgia law, the Senate itself is out of order and our taxpayer dollars are being spent without any kind of oversight. We need to stop Don Balfour from writing himself a blank check with our money.”
Bowden, along with attorney Scott Drake, both ran against Balfour in the race for District 9 back in November.
For further reading:
- Travis Bowden Calls on Senate Leaders to Remove Don Balfour
- Scott Drake to Citizens: I Can No Longer Stand Silently on the Sidelines