Ethics Commission settles campaign finance case against John Oxendine

The longest running campaign finance case in Georgia Ethics Commission history has come to an end.

The Commission voted to settle a case that has dragged on for some thirteen years against former Insurance Commissioner and Gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine.

The commission, that once accused Oxendine of illegally spending nearly $100,000 in campaign donations on a home down payment, fancy cars, an athletic club and child care expenses - settled the case, not with a bang, but a whisper.   

"It's just basically turn it over, whatever is left, to make it go away, said Commissioner Rick Thompson.

John Oxendine was in his 30s when he burst onto the Georgia political scene. 

He was elected Georgia's Insurance Commissioner 4 consecutive terms, and then ran for Governor.

In 2010 Nathan Deal won the republican primary in a run-off and later was elected Governor.  Oxendine finished back in the pack.

That run for Governor lead to one of two ethics complaints against Oxendine. 

But the cases dragged on for years, stymied by seemingly endless staff controversy and turnover and then COVID. 

Thursday, the Commission announced a settlement agreement in which the commission dropped its campaign finance case against Oxendine who in turn agreed to shut down his old campaign account and forward the remaining campaign donations to the state. Approximately $128,000 dollars.

"My client is pleased with the results because all the allegations that have been asserted against him over the past 13 years have now been dismissed. We have no findings of any violations or any penalties. He's now able to put the 2010 Gubernatorial election behind him," said Oxendine's attorney Doug Chalmers.  

The vote was 4-1 to accept the settlement, with commissioner Rick Thompson who was the commission director when the case was first filed, voting no. 

"I do feel it is somewhat frustrating, there is no admission of wrongdoing, and we're not even calling this a penalty," said Thompson.

But, deputy executive director Robert Lane says it is a win-win for everyone involved.

 (What does state get out of this?) The state gets a little under $132,000 and for that the state can show that we are not going let anyone misuse campaign funds no matter how long it takes.