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Barnes cleared of ethics complaint

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Georgia’s ethics commission on Friday cleared former Governor Roy Barnes of lobbyist disclosure violations.

The group unanimously bounced a 2010 ethics complaint from conservative Georgia blogger Gary Holt in which Barnes was accused of lobbying a local zoning board on behalf of a client and then failing to disclose the connection to the state.

But commissioners said there were equal parts ambiguity in the law and facts of the complaint.

“I don’t lobby,” the former governor said when asked if that was a “fair” characterization of his work. “I refuse to lobby. I won’t lobby.”

The gaveling of Friday’s meeting was something of a marquee moment for the commission. Its docket was unusually consequential, evaluating action against the Peach State’s former insurance commissioner and current governor. Not to mention Barnes.

- James Richardson