ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has received one of at least five subpoenas served to five current or former state ethics commission employees.
The copy was from former IT staffer John Hair who said Executive Secretary Holly LaBerge ordered him to destroy documents in the ethics complaint against Gov. Nathan Deal's campaign in 2010.
“To my knowledge, they haven't contacted my staff and I know they haven't contacted me,” Deal said.
Deal said neither he, nor any member of his staff have received any subpoena. Still, the issue is providing his opponents political ammunition since the governor is up for re-election next year.
“You never know when the ethical time bomb will explode and Jason Carter could win by default,” said Dalton Mayor David Pennington.
Pennington is challenging Deal in the Republican primary and said this ethics controversy gives Democrat Jason Carter a reason to run on ethics.
“If the Georgia Ethics Commission or the Georgia Attorney General would have done their job, I think the feds were waiting to see if we would clean up our own house,” Pennington said.
“If you're a public official, there are never three words you want to hear together: FBI investigation and subpoena would be those three words,” said political analyst Bill Crane.
Crane said you'll likely see these issues follow Deal into 2014.
“The charges and the headlines that you're seeing today and over the next several days will be turned into direct campaign mail pieces and show up in television commercials,” Crane said.
“We have provided the ethics commission with everything they've requested, several hundred thousand pages of documents. Nobody else has ever been subjected to this kind of scrutiny,” Deal said.
The day the documents are due back is also the second day of the 2014 legislative session when state lawmakers will all be back.