Dahlonega’s Gooch weighs in on attempted oversight of Sec. of State

An attempt to state that Georgia’s appointed State Election Board has the legal power to investigate Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s handling of elections blossomed into a constitutional showdown Tuesday, with a lawyer for Raffensperger saying board members can’t legally oversee him.

“There is no precedent for an unelected board of political appointees to have oversight over members of the executive branch,” wrote Charlene McGowan, Raffensperger’s general counsel. “Giving a board of unelected bureaucrats unchecked power over the state’s executive branch is a dangerous policy proposal.”

But Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) begs to differ, agreeing with those who say they can go forward because most of Raffensperger’s election responsibilities are outlined in state law, not the Georgia Constitution.

“They’re all in general law that the Georgia General Assembly has passed over the course of time in our state history,” Gooch, the Senate Majority Leader, said. “So, we can change them, amend them in any way we want, through the legislative process.”

McGowan warned that Gooch and the other lawmakers are aiding people who want to overturn legitimate election results and could empower the board to obstruct certification of Georgia’s 2024 presidential results.

But the Senate Ethics Committee disagreed, voting to advance Senate Bill 358. The proposal would remove Raffensperger from his nonvoting post on the board, allow the board to hire election investigators instead of solely relying on those working for Raffensperger and clearly give the board power to investigate the secretary of state.

(SRN NEWS and the Associated Press contributed to this story.)

(Pictured: Gooch)