Democrat Greg Hecht accused Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens of wrongfully trying to solicit money from state Sen. Don Balfour while Balfour was being investigated for misspending state funds.
Hecht is challenging Olens, a Republican, for his job in the Nov. 4 general election. Hecht leveled the accusation Wednesday during a stop in Macon while on a state tour he’s making to highlight the alleged Balfour incident.
“This type of conduct is wrongful and potentially illegal,” Hecht said. “It is the type of conduct that has made Georgia ranked 50th out of the 50 states in enforcing corruption and ethics laws in 2012, a bell weather year. This should never happen. Under O.C.G.A 16-10-2 (a) 2, this type of conduct is recognized as illegal conduct and improper conduct. But what’s worse, it’s being done, according to Sen. Balfour, by the top law enforcement official of the land.”
Balfour couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. But according to Hecht, the attorney general attempted to solicit about $40,000 from Balfour while the senator was under investigation by Olens’ office. Hecht said Balfour declined to donate and that Olens then told Balfour he might want to reconsider because he might need the attorney general at some point.
The senator was later indicted on charges of misspending state dollars. A jury acquitted him of all charges.
Lauren Kane, communication director for Olens, called Balfour’s allegation ‘patently false.”
Kane said if Balfour “genuinely believed that a fundraising call affected his prosecution, he would not have waited until two weeks before the election to say so – it would have been the centerpiece of his defense during the GBI investigation, during pre-trial discussions with state prosecutors, and during his jury trial. He didn’t make those claims because he knows they are not true. And it is the lowest kind of politics to suggest that they are.”
Balfour, a Republican, lost his re-election bid during this year’s primary. His current term expires Dec. 31.