by: Richard Elliot Updated:
ATLANTA - Former State Ethics Commission Director Stacey Kalberman testified that she opened up an investigation into Nathan Deal's 2010 gubernatorial campaign after they found "funky irregularities" in his campaign finance reports.
Kalberman is suing the Ethics Commission, claiming it forced her out of her job because of the investigation into the Deal campaign.
"We determined through our investigation there were a lot more violations than we originally thought just from the campaign finance reports," Kalberman testified.
Earlier in the day, former staff attorney Sherry Streicker also testified about her investigation into Deal's campaign and how federal authorities also became interested in it.
"And she found, you know, funky irregularities that weren't just the typical technical defects," said Kalberman.
When she showed the investigation and draft subpoenas to commissioners, Kalberman said, they became worried about the budget. At a meeting several weeks later, she said, two commissioners met with her in her office and told her there would be big changes, all because of budgetary concerns.
"And he said, 'We've decided that we're going to eliminate Ms. Streicker's position,'" said Kalberman. "Of course, I was really shocked by that. How are we going to eliminate Ms. Streicker's position and get work done? And then he said, 'We are reducing your salary by $35,000.'"
Kalberman later resigned.
Streicker, who is also suing the commission, testified that she was unaware of any budget worries until they told commissioners about the investigation.
"No one ever mentioned one single thing about eliminating my job until after I presented the Deal cases," said Streicker.
Former Ethics Commissioner Kent Alexander testified Wednesday that budget concerns were the only reason that he agreed to the changes in the commission office and that the Deal investigation did not play into his decision.
Deal did eventually agree to pay a fine of $3,350 for technical defects in his campaign's financial report.