ATLANTA — The ousted head of the Common Cause of Georgia, William Perry, rolled out his one-man effort to police government ethics Wednesday during a Capitol press conference. Perry lost his job this summer when the national leadership of Common Cause insisted the state chapter change direction to focus on social-issue advocacy rather than government behavior.
”This is something I pulled together quick, but I daydreamed about it,” he said. Perry launched a nonprofit called Georgia Ethics Watchdogs. He intends to file formal complaints with government agencies when he learns of violations of the state’s Ethics in Government Act.
Often, they will result from news stories, and he plans to coordinate with a former newspaper reporter, Jim Walls, who now blogs at Atlanta Unfiltered. “I’m writing a series of stories on loopholes in the law A to Z,” Walls said. “I’m trying to narrow it down to 26.” Perry will register as a lobbyist but won’t make the focus of his efforts to push for changes in the law, as he did at CommonCause. Trying to be an advocate and a critic of politicians at the same time was complicated, he said, pointing to his difficulty in getting appointments to meet with legislators while being quoted criticizing their personal ethics.
“It’s really difficult to be both the good cop (lobbyist) and bad cop (vocal critic) under the same roof,” Perry said. “So, I’m looking forward to being in the bad cop role.” Perry is seeking donations from the public because he fears the corporations he’s attacked are unlikely to offer financial support. Another part of his and Walls’ planned collaboration is to put on seminars for ordinary people who want to become ethics advocates in their own communities.