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Saturday January 16th, 2021 9:30PM

Ethics complaint targets lawmaker who is also Perdue's lawyer

By The Associated Press
<p>A Democratic Party operative filed an ethics complaint on Wednesday against Gov. Sonny Perdue's lawyer, state Rep. Larry O'Neal, alleging that the Republican lawmaker used his elected position to help the governor get a $100,000 tax break.</p><p>The complaint claims that O'Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, "used his position as a Member of the House to bestow a financial benefit upon a client of his private law practice."</p><p>At issue is a sweeping tax bill passed in 2005. Part of the legislation was made retroactive to 2004, effectively covering Perdue's sale of family land in middle Georgia in 2004 and his purchase of property in Florida later that year.</p><p>The retroactive provision saved Perdue about $100,000 in state capital gains taxes. Perdue signed the bill into law in April 2005 has said he only learned he would benefit from it when his accountant did his taxes.</p><p>The complaint was filed with the joint legislative ethics committee on Wednesday by Edward Barnwell, a researcher for the state Democratic Party.</p>
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