by: Craig Lucie Updated:ATLANTA —
Channel 2 Action News obtained the letter that Democratic candidate for governor, Jason Carter, is sending to Attorney General Sam Olens asking him to reopen the ethics investigation into Gov. Nathan Deal since Carter believes there was a cover-up.
“I don't know what happened. No one knows what happened because the investigation has never been completed,” Carter, a state senator, said.
In a one-on-one interview with Channel 2’s Craig Lucie, Carter explained several reasons why he is writing the letter to Olens.
“The crucial fact in the investigation in the 2010 campaign has not been completed and instead has been tampered with,” Carter said.
The ethics investigation started with questions about campaign spending during Governor Deal's 2010 race.
“At the end of the day, what we have seen now is that taxpayers are on the hook for $3 million to pay for a cover-up that the state perpetrated to ensure that this investigation wouldn't be completed. That's what all the evidence shows,” Carter said.
Lucie asked him why he referred to it as a ‘cover-up.’
“The jury verdict determined that the former director of this commission, whose job was to investigate, was forced from her job,” answered Carter.
The former director was Stacy Kalberman and the state paid her more than a million dollars.
Carter told Lucie that taxpayers deserve to know what happened.
Lucie reached out to Deal and his communications director, Jennifer Talabar, sent him this statement:
‘This settlement involves an internal dispute between former employees and former commissioners of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, which is a body that operates independently of elected officials.
“There is no connection to the governor's office, and Senator Carter is playing politics. How else could he explain his change of heart? The man has made a living suing the state with no concern for costs to taxpayers until now."
Deal is traveling in Israel right now and Lucie asked him about Carter’s letter. He said Carter’s campaign was trying to score political points out of a moot point. His campaign said the documents have long been available to the public.
"This is about Carter trying desperately to change the subject from a week of great jobs announcements by Gov. Deal, who's proving again we're the number one place for business," Talaber added.
“It’s one of the lowest forms of politics,” Deal said.
Lucie asked Carter if this was about politics.
“I don’t think searching for the truth is about politics,” answered Carter.
Lucie also took a moment to ask Carter how he plans to attract businesses to Georgia.
“There is a reputational wall around our state. We have to develop some of the really true creative technology companies that can help us build an ecosystem that will grow that high tech sector…part of it is to market ourselves that Georgia is ready for the future and if we do that, we will explode,” said Carter.
On his grandfather, Jimmy Carter:
“He’s been very involved in the campaign. He’s very excited about it. I obviously take a lot of advice and we talk a lot as grandfather and grandson. This campaign is not going to be about my grandparents. It’s going to be about the future of our state and our need to invest in education,” Carter said.
“What would you say is the best advice he’s (Jimmy Carter) given you through this?” Lucie asked.
“I think the best advice he has ever given me is that it’s better to be a good person than it is to be a good politician and if you work hard and tell the truth, the rest will take care of itself. That’s his legacy,” answered Carter.