Before I get to today’s blog post, thank you citizens for your loyalty and support. You are the reason that I invest so much time and effort into the Milton Coalition Blog. My goal is to provide a source of objective information about Milton’s government that is free from politicians’ spin. Since re-activation in mid-August of 2021, the Milton Coalition Blog has received over 4,000 views. And subscribership (readers that subscribe to the blog to receive it by email) has increased by more than 50%. Now that the election is past, I will be publishing fewer posts. However, I did want to let you know that I am creating a page called “Bits and Pieces” where I will publish shorter, less-polished writings about Milton politics and government. These writings will not be pushed out to email subscribers, so you will have to periodically visit the Bits and Pieces page to read the latest. (Some of these pieces may eventually evolve into full-blown separately published posts.) Following is a link to the Bits and Pieces page:
Following is a link to the campaign finance reports for the 2021 election cycle in Milton:
This website is managed by the Georgia Government Campaign Transparency and Finance Commission (GGCTFC), formerly the State Ethics Commission, and is an easier and quicker means for accessing campaign finance reports than the previous method of submitting Open Records Requests to local government authorities. I am also attaching a pdf file of instructions for accessing campaign finance reports (that was provided to me by the City of Milton.)
Georgia law requires the periodic submission of campaign finance reports from candidates for political office. This begins with the filing of a Declaration of Intent (DOI) prior to any fund-raising or any campaign expenditure. Subsequent to the DOI, periodic reports (Campaign Contribution Disclosure Reports, or CCDRs) are required to be submitted that show sources of financing and uses of funds. CCDRs are a kind of combined income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. A breakdown of uses and sources of funds is also provided.
For all contributions > $100, the exact amount of the contribution (and date of contribution) must be provided along with information on the contributor: name, mailing address, employer, and occupation. In-kind (i.e., non-monetary) contributions must also be listed, with an estimate of the value of the contribution. For example, if a supporter hosts a meet-and-greet for a candidate, that meet-and-greet cost must be included in the CCDR. (Tip to Citizens: Contribute less than $100 if you desire not to be identified in a candidate’s CCDR.)
CCDRs must be completed perfectly. If a mistake is made and found by an unscrupulous adversary of a candidate, an ethics complaint can be lodged with the GGCTFC. Although a mistake may be trivial and honest (a calculational error or unintentional omission), the originators of such complaints will claim that you are “under investigation.” The GGCTFC’s bar for admissibility of such complaints is low and the GGCTFC is painfully slow in adjudicating complaints, so that some complaints—even those based on nothing—can take years to resolve . . . meanwhile, your opponents will bash you for months with claims that “you are under investigation.” Such strategies are clearly dishonest, but unfortunately effective. And Milton has a very long and sordid history of such complaints. I know this because a frivolous complaint was leveled at me. However, I can proudly state that my opponents could not even nail me on a technicality. I strongly believe that the GGCTFC does more harm than good. The Commission has allowed itself to become a weapon for unscrupulous political miscreants, often aligned with establishment politicians (who know all the angles), to bully honest citizens and to interfere with citizens’ exercise of First Amendment liberties.
The CCDRs can be an interesting read. Particularly interesting are reading about the sources of funding. In Milton, citizens need to be particularly alert to developer money being contributed to campaigns, although often developers will not identify as “developers” but use other occupational titles, like “retired”, to disguise themselves. So sometimes a little detective work is needed. And often the funny money in Milton comes out after the election when Special Interests seeking favors pay off a candidate’s campaign debts.
Another tip for citizens. If you intend to speak at council at zoning hearings AGAINST developers’ applications, you might consider contributing <$250 to a candidate. In you contribute $250+, then you have to complete a disclosure form 5 days before the pertinent matter is heard by the Planning Commission, which normally occurs a few weeks before the date for Council to address the matter (and long before most citizens engage on zoning issues). This state law only applies if you are speaking AGAINST a developer’s proposal. I believe that this law is an unconstitutional means for silencing Free Speech and was clearly the result of successful lobbying by the Georgia’s powerful development industry. I have urged the Milton City government to lobby for repeal of this law, but my plea has so far fallen on deaf ears. Jan Jones is Milton’s representative in the Georgia Assembly, where she serves as Speaker Pro Tem, making her the second most powerful representative in the Assembly. Milton needs to engage her to change this unfair and unconstitutional law.
Citizens should be able to use the above link in the future to access additional future CCDRs for the 2021 Milton election. I am also attaching a pdf with instructions on how to access CCDRs.
Advocating For Good Governance,
Note: I believe that the City should be publicizing the availability of these CCDRs to citizens or even prominently posting these reports at their website or FB page. In general, the City’s communications are far too slanted toward Public Relations rather than providing important information to engage citizens in the governance of the City.