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Speaker Ralston Responds To Scrutiny, Denies Wrongdoing

Ralston maintains he never misused the law but said he realizes "perception is reality.”
Ralston maintains he never misused the law but said he realizes "perception is reality.”
Credit WABE File
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Speaker of the House David Ralston has been facing scrutiny at the state capitol, and he responded Monday. While he said he has done nothing wrong, he will convene an advisory group to study the rules some have accused him of abusing.

Last week some lawmakers called for his resignation following a joint Atlanta Journal-Constitution/WSB investigation. That article outlined how Ralston appears to have used the delays to benefit his own clients.

On Monday Ralston said he would convene a bipartisan advisory group to study the rules in question. “I know that a number of fair-minded Georgians have questions about the legislative leave law,” he said. “And as a result, I believe we have an obligation, I have an obligation not to dismiss their concerns.”

Ralston maintains he never misused the law but said he realizes “perception is reality.”

“But I choose not to be defensive, angry or paranoid. Because I believe that would be a disservice to this house and to this state. I choose instead to try to grow and learn from this moment,” he said.

Ralston also said he also will not accept any more criminal cases until those that have been delayed are completed.

Rep. David Clark, R-Buford, introduced the resolution on Friday urging Ralston’s resignation. Clark said he tried to talk to Ralston about it first.

“I’m not somebody who wants to be throwing bombs. It’s not comfortable. But it’s the right thing to do,” Clark said Friday. “And he couldn’t give me one single defense.”

The resolution has about 10supporters.

“He has abused his power,” Clark said of Ralston. “He has. Man or woman who reads this article knows that this is abuse of power. There is no way around it if you’re being honest with yourself.”

Ralston has received support from top Georgia names, including former governors and other state lawmakers. Stacey Abrams, former Democratic nominee for governor and former Minority Leader in the Georgia House called it “a conversation for the General Assembly to have.”

Ralston said he’s grateful for the support. “I think you know as people take a look at it and sort through the fact from fiction they can kind of see what’s there, but you know if people want to drop a resolution it’s certainly a free country to do that.”

The North Georgia lawmaker has been Speaker of the House since 2010.