Governor’s Office Defends Trip Paid For By Lobbyist

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal walks past portraits of former State Representatives as he exits the House Chamber after delivering his State of the State Address at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press
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The governor’s office is defending a trip to New Orleans last month that was paid for by a lobbyist.

The two-day visit to schools in Louisiana included other lawmakers and was funded by a group called StudentsFirst.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports the estimated cost of the trip was more than $14,000. The governor’s executive order he signed limits gifts from lobbyists at $25.  

Brian Robinson, the governor’s spokesperson, defended the trip and said the trip was legal and approved beforehand.

“We jumped through every hoop,” Robinson said. “No decision was made without making sure that every ‘I’ was dotted, and every ‘T’ was crossed. We went through the ethics commission to get the trip approved.”

He said the executive order allows for educational trips, and that the trip was a fact-finding visit. 

The lobbying group, StudentsFirst, paid for the trip’s travel, lodging and meal expenses.  The group said it supports the governor’s plan to take over failing schools.

The proposal passed the legislature on Wednesday and now goes before voters next year.