ATLANTA – The state ethics commission fined Gov. Sonny Perdue (search) $1,900 for campaign violations and ordered him to repay more than $18,000 in contributions - most of it to his wife for using her company's airplane.
The ruling Friday - negotiated ahead of time and approved by Perdue's lawyers - was believed to mark the first time that a sitting Georgia governor has been fined since the commission was created in the 1970s.
Democrats, who filed the ethics complaint against the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction, claimed vindication.
However, Republicans said Perdue could have fought the commission's findings, but instead chose to accept the penalty to raise the bar for campaigns in 2006. The party claimed the findings amount to a strict new interpretation of campaign financing rules.