John Oxendine’s Ethics Appeal Denied

Guess who’s back, back again?
The Ox is back, tell a friend…

Now that we’ve all got 90s music stuck in our heads, John Oxendine has made a reappearance in the news today for losing the appeal in his ethics case.

In case you’ve forgotten what’s up with The Ox these days or you’ve blocked it out intentionally, our former insurance commissioner got into trouble with the Georgia State Ethics Commission back in 2009, when he was accused of illegally taking $120,000 in contributions from two insurance agencies for his primary campaign for governor. Then, in 2015, the ethics commission revised and expanded their complaints against The Ox after realizing he had held onto about $750,000 in donations not from his failed 2010 primary bid for governor, but for the runoff and general election races he didn’t run.

Oxendine’s response when asked about the money in August 2o15 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was, “The law says we have to give it back. It doesn’t say when.”

Naturally, that comment vaulted the ethics commission into action. By the time they were done with their audit of The Ox’s reports, they had added additional complaints, including improperly spending more than $208,000 raised for the runoff and general elections and accepting more than the legal limit in contributions from 19 donors. Some of the ethics complaints have since been dismissed due to the statute of limitations running out on them, but the ethics commission refused to dismiss the complaint regarding illegal contributions from the insurance agencies and the complaint that Oxendine spent money on races he never ran rather than returning it to donors.

Unhappy with the continuance of the complaints, The Ox took the ethics commission to court, and in June 2016, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk rejected the complaint, writing in his opinion, “Under clearly established Georgia law, any party to an administrative action must completely exhaust their administrative remedies before seeking judicial review.” And today, the Court of Appeals has concurred.

We’ll hear more from The Ox. After all, the decisions from the Georgia State Ethics Commission are still forthcoming, eight years later.

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