A federal grand jury is probing a Georgia ethics commission that cleared Gov. Nathan Deal of campaign finance violations during his run for governor in 2010.
The Associated Press reports the grand jury has subpoenaed two employees seeking documents related to the commission's investigation of Deal's campaign finances. A former employee, John Hair, also said he received a subpoena, the AP reported.
Deal's lawyer Randy Evans told the AP the investigation likely concerns allegations that documents in the case went missing, and does not involve the governor. Deal was cleared of major charges in the ethics case but paid a $3,250 administrative fee in July.
The Deal investigation is also at the center of a lawsuit against the commission by two former employees, former commission executive secretary Stacey Kalberman and her deputy Sherry Streicker. The two allege they were retaliated against by the commission -- Kalberman received a pay cut and Streicker's job was eliminated -- when they tried to issue subpoenas in the investigation into Deal's campaign finances.
Deal, a Republican, left Congress in 2010 to run for governor. At the time he stepped down he was under investigation by the congressional ethics office for allegedly using his position to assist a business he owned. While ethics investigations are usually made moot by a member's resignation, in Deal's case the ethics office took the unusual step of releasing its report. The panel had concluded there is "substantial reason to believe" Deal had violated ethics rules, but the case was never taken up by the House Ethics Committee.
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