Compilation of Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
Department 189 - RULES OF STATE ETHICS COMMISSION.
Chapter 189-2 - PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Rule 189-2-.01 - Definitions

Universal Citation: GA Rules and Regs r 189-2-.01

RULE 189-2-.01. Definitions

The following words and terms as used in these rules shall have the meaning hereinafter ascribed to them or as set forth in O.C.G.A. § 21-5 et seq.:

(1) "Advisory Opinion" an opinion issued by the Commission pursuant to its authority under O.C.G.A. §21-5-6(b)(13). The provision of information or advice by Commission staff in response to questions shall not constitute an "advisory opinion" in terms of the law unless such information or advice is formally adopted by the Commission pursuant to O.C.G.A. §21-5-6(b)(13).

(2) "Complainant" a person who files a written complaint alleging a violation of one or more laws under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

(3) "Compliance Order" a written document wherein the Commission and the Respondent agree and consent to terms which may include findings of fact, conclusions of law, cease and desist language, remedial action to be taken, oral or written statements to be made or issued, prohibition of actual or threatened violations, the ordering of actions necessary to correct cited deficiencies and a waiver of any appeal rights.

(4) "Consent Order" a written document wherein the Commission and the Respondent agree and consent to terms which shall include admissions of violations by the Respondent, findings of fact; conclusions of law, cease and desist language, imposition of civil penalties, late filing fees, and/or administrative fees and which may include, among other things, remedial actions to be taken, oral or written statements to be made or issued, prohibition of actual or threatened violations, or the ordering of actions necessary to correct cited deficiencies and a waiver of any appeal rights. Consent Orders must be signed by the Respondent and received by the Commission staff not later than seven (7) days prior to the date the case is scheduled to be heard before the Commission, unless the Executive Secretary has approved an extension of time.

(5) "Contested Case" a case that will proceed to an administrative hearing in accordance with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act following a finding that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or other statute under the jurisdiction of the Commission has been violated.

(6) "Credit Received on Loan" a contribution received by a candidate or campaign committee for the forgiveness of a loan and/or a portion of an outstanding loan carried by the candidate or campaign committee.

(7) "Deferred Payment" an expenditure for the payment of anything of value which is received by, provided to, furnished to, or conveyed to/or on behalf of a candidate or a campaign committee that was previously reported on a prior or current Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report for the time period in which the thing of value was provided.

(8) "End Recipient" the person or entity paid for providing goods or services to benefit a candidate, officeholder, or campaign committee regardless of whether such payment is arranged, passed through, or paid by a third party or agent for the candidate, officeholder, or campaign committee.

(9) "Frivolous Complaint" a complaint that lacks a Legal Basis, Legal Merit, or factual basis to support the allegations in said complaint, as alleged by the Complainant, that the Respondent violated the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Act.

(10) "Good Faith" a state of mind consisting in (1) honesty in belief or purpose, (2) faithfulness to one's duty or obligation, or (3) absence of intent to defraud or to seek unconscionable advantage.

(11) "Hearing" a proceeding before the Commission or its designated hearing officer for either the consideration of a modification or a change in existing rules, or for an adjudication of issues presented in a contested case, at which all parties at interest are afforded an opportunity to present testimony, documentary evidence and arguments, as to the matter under consideration.

(12) "Hearing Officer" an individual designated by the Commission for the purpose of presiding over a hearing as herein defined.

(13) "In-kind expenditure" an expenditure of any goods or services for which a candidate or campaign committee did not extend payment to an end-recipient for the goods or services provided, but for which the campaign received the use / benefit of said goods or services (e.g., A computer is loaned to the campaign and the computer is returned to the donor upon the conclusion of the campaign).

(14) "Independent Expenditure" a political campaign communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate or candidate's authorized committees.

(15) "Legal Basis" a legal principle or statute which constitutes the basis for the claim that the Respondent violated the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Act.

(16) "Legal Merit" an argument that is supported by a legal principle or statute, that is advanced by the Complainant in Good Faith, that constitutes the basis for the claim that the Respondent violated the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Act.

(17) "Loan Repayment" an expenditure made by a candidate or campaign committee to retire or reduce any outstanding loan carried by the candidate or campaign committee. Any such expenditure must note and itemize which loan the payment is being applied to (e.g., 2012 General Election Loan $500.00; and, 2012 Primary Election Loan $1,000.00).

(18) "Local Filing Officer" a local filing officer is any person who supervises and/or qualifies local officials for election to county and/or municipal offices, said term shall include, but not be limited to, all county election superintendents, municipal clerks, and chief executive officers of municipalities.

(19) "Notice of Hearing" a written statement of the substance of a specific charge alleging violation of the statute, rule, or regulation to be considered at a hearing to the person or party affected thereby, or of the substance of a proposed rule to be considered, which will afford actual notice to all interested persons. Notice shall be given in accordance with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.

(20) "Preliminary Hearing" a proceeding before the Commission for the purpose of deciding if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or other statute under the jurisdiction of the Commission has been violated, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe there has been a failure to comply with any rule or regulation promulgated by the Commission, and if the matter should be set down for a "Hearing" for the purpose of determining whether a violation of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or other statute within the jurisdiction of the Commission and whether any sanctions should be imposed should a violation be found. This term also specifically includes hearings held pursuant to the issuance of an Administrative Subpoena.

(21) "Refund" any contribution (either cash or in-kind) which is returned by a candidate or campaign committee to the original donor and not expended for campaign purposes. A refund must be made in full to the donor making a contribution if the campaign is refunding a single contribution; or pro rata to all donors if the campaign is being terminated and excess funds must be disposed of. All funds contributed to any candidate or campaign committee are not personal assets of the candidate or committee and can only be disposed of by refund to the donor(s) or transfer in accordance with O.C.G.A. §21-5-33.

(22) "Respondent" a person against whom a complaint is filed or who has been added as such by the Commission at a preliminary hearing based on a finding of reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act has occurred; or a person who has been named a Respondent by the Commission by virtue of a finding of probable cause to open an investigation.

(23) "Rule" any regulation, standard, or statement of general or particular applicability that implements, interprets, or prescribes law or policy, or describes the organization, procedure, or practice requirements of the Commission.

(24) "Substantial Compliance" the requirement that all reports submitted pursuant to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act be at least 90% compliant with respect to technical defects.

(25) "Technical Defect" an inadvertent or scrivener's error in the preparation or making of a filing with the Commission or with a local filing officer. "Technical defects" include such mistakes as showing incorrectly or failing to show a date, a contributor's occupation, an address, an email address or an employer, or other similar errors. Accounting errors constitute technical defects if they include obvious errors in addition or subtraction. The failure to list or show the disposition of a contribution is not an accounting error that constitutes a "technical defect."

O.C.G.A. §§21-5-6, 21-5-7, 21-5-7.1, 21-5-34.

(Original Rule entitled "Definitions" adopted. F. Apr. 9, 1987; eff. Apr. 29, 1987. Amended: F. Feb. 22, 2000; eff. Mar. 13, 2000. Amended: F. Oct. 12, 2006; eff. Nov. 1, 2006. Repealed: New Rule of same title adopted. F: Dec. 18, 2007; eff: Jan. 7, 2008. Amended: F. Aug. 24, 2015; eff. Sep. 13, 2015. Amended: F. Jan. 11, 2016; eff. Jan. 31, 2016. Amended: F. Jan. 13, 2020; eff. Feb. 2, 2020.)
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