The ruling, negotiated ahead of time and approved by the governor's lawyers, was believed to be the first time a sitting Georgia governor has been fined since the commission was created in the 1970s.
Democrats, who filed the ethics complaint against the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction, claimed vindication.
``Now for the first time we have the governor admitting that he is the most ethically challenged governor in Georgia history,'' said Mike Jablonski, a lawyer for the party.
Republicans said the governor easily could have fought the commission's findings, which they claimed amount to a new, stricter interpretation of campaign financing rules. They said he chose to accept the penalty in order to raise the bar for campaigns in 2006