Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (R) will be indicted by a federal grand jury by no later than January 15, 2015, according to a source close to the investigation of the embattled former member of Congress. A second independent source confirmed that Deal will indeed be indicted, but could not verify when the indictment will be handed down.
Deal, who won reelection to a second four-year term as Georgia’s governor in November, has been under investigation since 2010. While a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Deal was accused of wrongdoing by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The report issued by OCE concluded that Deal had improperly used his office staff in an attempt to pressure Georgia officials continue the state’s vehicle inspection program. This program, the report concluded, had generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for Deal’s auto salvage company. Deal denied any wrongdoing and defiantly stated, “I have done nothing wrong and am not going to let this tarnish my record of public service. Less than a month later, Deal resigned from his Congressional seat but said he had done so to concentrate on his planned run in the Georgia gubernatorial primary.
In 2011, Deal became the subject of a state ethics investigation. This probe accused Deal of using campaign funds collected for his 2010 race for governor to pay legal bills stemming from the ethics investigation while still a member of Congress. As subpoenas were about to be issued in the state case, two members of the State Ethics Commission were released from their positions. One of the people appointed to replace the fired Ethics Committee members, it was later reported, had been hand-picked by the governor’s office. Shortly thereafter, Deal was cleared by the state ethics panel but did pay $3,500 to resolve “campaign and financial disclosure law” irregularities.
The current investigation by the U.S. Justice Department is believed to be focused on both the campaign-finance charges and the improper use of staff while Deal was still in Congress. A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that Deal will be indicted on multiple charges and that the case against him is “airtight.”
Deal could not be reached for comment on this report.