Atlanta - State Senator Don Balfour (R-Snellville) has been released from the Fulton County Jail on $5,000 bond on charges he falsified state expense reports.
The Fulton County grand jury returned an 18-count indictment against Balfour last week for making false statements and theft by taking.
He’s accused of filing expense reports seeking for reimbursement for mileage and per diem when he was out of state.
“We need an outcome in this situation that the public can be satisfied with and people can feel that someone in a high position can be held accountable,” says William Perry, executive director of government watchdog group Common Cause Georgia.
Perry’s is among several organizations who had been calling for an investigation into Balfour’s expense reports. The GBI began looking into the case last this year.
The Senate Ethics Committee fined Balfour $5,000 and ordered him to reimburse the state for the expenses.
He was replaced this year as chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee which decides which bills will be heard by the full Senate.
Balfour has maintained that he simply made errors on his expense reports, but they were not intentional.
Gov. Nathan Deal has 14 days to appoint a three-member panel, including a member of the House, the Senate, and a retired judge of either the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, to decide whether Balfour should be suspended from office while his case is pending or until his term ends.