“State Mutual Insurance Company and Admiral Life Insurance Company of America are not involved in the current John Oxendine case,” said Richard Burton, vice president and corporate compliance officer for State Mutual. “The Ethics Commission separated the matters and we went through the judicial process in Fulton County Superior Court.”
The State Ethics Commission, now known as the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, decided Friday that there was probable cause that Oxendine violated campaign finance regulations during his unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination to run for Governor two years ago.
The allegations stem from a series of contributions made by State Mutual Insurance and Admiral Life to political action committees, amounting to $120,000, in 2009. The PACs in turn made the contributions to the Oxendine campaign.
After Oxendine was ousted in the primary, the case languished, gathering dust in Atlanta for more than a year before Commission Chairman Patrick Millsaps signed an order March 1, 2011, to sever the action against the insurance companies from the case against Oxendine after State Mutual and Admiral Life argued that the statue of limitations for proceeding with the case had expired.
Burton said that the Commission’s own regulations called for the panel to settle a case within one year after filing notice of a potential violation.
The statute of limitations issue was then argued in the Fulton County Superior Court where Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams ruled in favor of the insurance companies on March 26, 2012.
The Georgia Ethics in Government law bans elected officials from accepting contributions from companies they regulate. Burton maintains that State Mutual and Admiral Life made legal contributions to the PACs in 2008 and had no control over how the PACs distributed the money.
Donald V Watkins Jr., Birmingham Ala., ran all of the PACs in question. His father Donald V. Watkins Sr., also from Birmingham, was, and still is a member of the State Mutual Board of Directors.
“Watkins Sr. had nothing to do with the PACs,” Burton said.