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Newton chairman thanks DA for role in P-card investigation
Banes said he asked GBI to conduct investigation in June
P-card illustration
(Illustration | The Covington News)

COVINGTON, Ga. — Hours after the news broke that Newton County District Attorney Randy McGinley confirmed he requested an investigation of “certain” purchasing card (P-card) records, Chairman Marcello Banes thanked him for doing so.

As first reported Friday, Aug. 13, by The Covington News, McGinley said he met with “a state law enforcement agency about certain records and requested an investigation into certain transactions” after receiving a number of records weeks ago. He said the records would include “certain P-card holder’s records covering 2020 and further back.” 

Shortly after the news broke, Banes publicly thank McGinley via Facebook and said he had wanted an investigation to be carried out by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in June — when public allegations of P-card misuse had first begun.

“I would like to thank District Attorney Randy McGinley for informing the public of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigation into P-Card use in our county,” Banes wrote on his Facebook page. 

“On June 16, 2021, I requested the GBI to do a full investigation into the use of my P-Card. I was later told that I did not have the authority to make the request. Only a District Attorney has this authority. 

"I have told this community when I took the position as chairman that I wanted to promote transparency in government. I will continue to stand by my commitment.”

McGinley could not disclose which P-card users or records would be part of the investigation. Currently, there are 50 employees and elected officials with county-issued P-cards, including Banes and McGinley.

“If [the investigation] necessitates further action, then my office will do so,” McGinley said. “It is not appropriate for me to comment beyond that at this point.”

Bound by Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3.8, McGinley said he could not make any public comment that would “have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation” of anyone accused of a crime.

“There are times when I will tell everyone that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on whether there is even an ongoing investigation,” he said. “However, in circumstances where it is already publicly known, including by potential parties being investigated, there is not much purpose served by me not at least confirming that there is an investigation.”