Exclusive Interview with Ethics Director Holly LaBerge who says - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Exclusive Interview with Ethics Director Holly LaBerge who says Governor Deal's staff threatened her

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The woman at the center of the controversial Governor Deal campaign finance investigation is fighting back. Holly LaBerge, the head of the state ethics commission, says she has done nothing wrong and she is not the governor's patsy.

In an exclusive interview with the FOX 5 I-Team, Holly LaBerge said: “If I'm a puppet put there to make his legal problems go away, why would his legal counsel have to call me up and threaten me? Shouldn't his legal counsel be able to say, remember the deal, you're the puppet, we're pulling the strings.”

Holly LaBerge says a top member of the Governor's cabinet threatened her and her agency during negotiations to resolve the campaign finance investigation of Governor Deal back in July of 2010.

LaBerge says the threat came one week before the Nathan Deal campaign finance investigation was scheduled for a public hearing.

She says, while on vacation, she got a text from Governor Deal’s chief of staff Chris Riley, asking if the case can be resolved before the hearing.

LaBerge says “It was a little odd that the chief of staff was interested in this.”

Then, she says she received a phone call from the governor's executive attorney, Ryan Teague. She wanted a record of the call and summarized it in a memo to the file.

The memo quotes Teague as saying: "it was not in the agency's best interest for these cases to go to a hearing Monday; nor was it in their best political interest either."

In the FOX 5 exclusive interview, Ms. LaBerge said, “I was mad, that the Governor's legal counsel thought he could call me up and threaten me and threaten my agency.”

Neither Ryan Teague nor Governor Deal would comment.

Randy Evans, who represented Governor Deal during the ethics investigation, says there was nothing improper about the texts or phone call.

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