The Georgia Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint against a Columbus political action group stemming from the successful sales tax campaign in July.
In a preliminary hearing held in Atlanta to determine if the matter should go forward, the commission threw out the complaint filed by local political activist Bert Coker.
He claimed Yes for Public Safety received an illegal contribution from a dead man.
The Yes for Public Safety campaign disclosure report, filed prior to the election, showed a $500 contribution from Thomas Buck Jr., who died in March at the age of 91. The disclosure form listed Buck’s occupation as retired. The check was written by Buck’s son, Thomas Buck III, a former state legislator.
Retired Columbus attorney and former state legislator Milton Jones, the treasurer for Yes for Public Safety, attended the hearing in Atlanta.
“It absolutely should never have been filed,” Jones said of the complaint.
Coker, an unsuccessful candidate for mayor and city council, did not go to the hearing.
“I didn’t figure they would do anything anyway,” Coker said. “It’s not the real deal. They don’t have any teeth.”
Coker and his ally Paul Olson formed the Be Smart Vote No L.O.S.T. committee to fight the permanent Local Option Sales Tax, which was passed overwhelming by voters.
The 1 percent tax goes into effect Jan. 1.
“This contribution was accepted June 12, 2008, nearly three months after his demise, and specifically notating his occupation as retired instead of deceased or the estate of Tom Buck Jr.,” Olson said in a prepared statement.
At the time, Jones said there was no intention to mislead anyone and offered to make the changes to the filing.