ATLANTA -- Five Georgia lawmakers got free tickets to the heart-pounding Falcons playoff victory Sunday.
The five lawmakers, three Republicans and two Democrats, got the tickets courtesy of a lobbyist from the Georgia World Congress Center, who noted them on a state-required disclosure filed this week.
The disclosure form annotated the tickets by lawmaker and estimated value:
January 13, Falcons - Seahawks tickets
Rep. Demetrius Douglas (D-Stockbridge), $316
Rep. Jason Shaw (R-Lakeland), $158
Rep. Mike Cheokus (R-Americus), $316
Rep. Ronnie Mabra (D-Fayetteville), $316
Sen. Tyler Harper, (R-Ocilla) $158
The lawmaker freebies continued a season-long tradition. Since August 2012, 29 members of the legislature have accepted free tickets to eleven events at the Georgia Dome, most of them football games. The tickets were valued at a total of $10,894.
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Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) attended the Chick-fil-A kickoff classic. He says he used the opportunity to talk with officials with the Georgia World Congress Center about their plan to build a new stadium to replace the Georgia Dome. The legislature would have to give the project its blessing.
"Having time personal time with the leadership from the Georgia World Congress Center was extremely beneficial in understanding what the big picture was, what the details (were) of the plan. So from that perspective, it was a good use of my time," Peake said. "I think most of my constituents realize that I can't be bought for a ticket to a football game."
All that quality time with World Congress Center officials apparently helped Rep. Peake form an opinion on the new stadium: He told us he will probably vote in favor of the project. He says it's because the state hotel motel tax would only pay for one third of the billion dollar project, with the Falcons and the NFL paying the bulk of the cost.
The free tickets, he says, has nothing to do with it.