Gaines pushes new version of prosecutorial oversight bill

Athens Democrat Spencer Frye was a no vote on a state House bill pushed by Athens Republican Houston Gaines: the measure that cleared the House Monday updates last year’s legislation, creating a prosecutorial oversight commission that has the power to investigate, discipline or remove a district attorney or a solicitor in Georgia. The measure now heads to the state Senate.

From WSB TV…

The Georgia House voted to create a commission that would have oversight over state prosecutors.

This comes just three days after the Georgia Senate voted to open an investigation into Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

House Republicans insist the oversight commission has nothing to do with Willis or her prosecution of former President Donald Trump. Democrats aren’t buying it.

They think the effort in the House and the new Senate investigation into Willis’ office are all tied together, even as House Republicans insist that’s just not the case.

The vote went right along party lines.

The Prosecutor’s Oversight Commission could open investigations into any district attorney in Georgia following complaints of misconduct, offenses involving moral turpitude, or, the bill says, conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the office into disrepute.

That commission could sanction or remove the DA from office.

“The question we should all ask is who will police this commission?” state Rep. Tanya Miller said.

“There is no doubt in my mind that this is about the former president and Fani Willis, which is unfortunate,” state Rep. James Beverly said.

Republicans say the commission is needed to go after what they are calling “rogue prosecutors.”

“Fani Willis-President Trump stuff is something that is happening, but it’s not the motivation … motivating factor of this legislation,” said state Rep. Joseph Gullett.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot obtained a letter naming the state Senators who will be part of the Senate commission to investigate Willis and the allegations of having an improper romantic relationship and misusing public funds.

The three Democrats and six Republicans, include Forsyth County’s Greg Dolezal, who told Elliot on Friday that this has nothing to do with political retribution.

“If the goal was political payback, we would have done this months ago. The reality is as these new facts have come to light, it has caused great concern not only for us but constituents all over the state of Georgia,” Dolezal said.

The House bill now heads to the Senate. There is no timeline for when the Senate will open its investigation.

There was no comment from Willis’ office on Monday.

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens.

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