ATLANTA – A watchdog group is asking the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation into former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., who resigned this month to run for governor.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) alleges Deal “improperly used his position in Congress to influence Georgia state officials for his personal financial interest.”
The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) this week found that Deal in 2008 earned $75,000 from his Gainesville auto salvage business. However, that exceeded a $25,830 limit on outside income for Congressmen, The Associated Press reported.
The report also concluded that Deal “took active steps to preserve a purely state program, one that had generated financial benefit for Representative Deal and his business partner.”
“Although beyond the reach of the House, the Justice Department still has jurisdiction and – particularly given that Mr. Deal is running for another public office – Americans deserve a full and thorough investigation of Mr. Deal’s sordid conduct,” Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said in a statement.
Deal has denied any wrongdoing.
“Sometimes in the world of politics there is a price to be paid for doing what’s right,” Deal said, according to The Associated Press. “Over the last couple of days, I have seen those who would exact a price from me.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported about the allegations against Deal. In its report, OCE recommended that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct further review the allegations against Deal.