A Statement from John Oxendine:
Based on facts that have recently come to light, previously unknown to us, we have concerns whether our understanding of the facts were complete. Last week, before these facts fully came to light, we filed an advisory opinion request with the Georgia State Ethics Commission.
Let me be transparent and direct with the taxpayers of Georgia. I have promised to transform Georgia government. Although my staff and legal counsel, Stefan Passantino of McKenna, Long and Aldridge, advise that we have done nothing illegal, based on the facts as we know them, I am concerned Georgia voters might see this as politics as usual. Therefore, last week, immediately after my initial awareness of this matter, I ordered the process be set in motion to return every single contribution in question and to seek advice as to our rights and obligations to the State Ethics Commission.
I have criticized this as a hit piece and the facts are thus: Mr. Passantino communicated via email with the AJC reporter last Friday that they were to speak today. It is unfortunate that the AJC elected to move forward with this piece before having spoken with Mr. Passantino to get our side of the story.
Had this occurred, the story would not have been an issue because the AJC would have had the opportunity to report that the money had already been returned and that we had previously initiated a request for guidance and clarification from the State Ethics Commission.