Campaign finance agency dismisses Abrams’ violations, fines 30 candidates for missing or late information |


ATLANTA – Georgia’s Commission on Transparency and Campaign Finance has dismissed two charges against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

Commission attorney Joseph Cusack said Tuesday that Abrams’ attorney, Joyce Gist Lewis, provided him with the evidence needed to resolve potential violations stemming from two Abrams campaign transactions.

In one, the commission alleged that Abrams received $3,865 in in-kind contributions from friends Stacey Abrams and Georgia Next before she filed paperwork declaring her intention to run. Lewis was able to provide documents showing that campaign contributions were received after Abrams’ declaration of intent to run was filed.

Abrams also appropriately amended its contribution disclosure documents to reflect the correct information, Cusack said.

The second count stems from a law firm invoice that alleges the commission was not properly included in Abrams’ campaign contribution reports. Cusack said the Abrams campaign provided evidence that he paid that invoice.

“She gave me every piece of evidence I asked for,” Cusack said of Lewis’ cooperation in the case.

“I think this is a perfect example of both sides working together, providing the information the commission needs to show that Ms. Abrams complied,” added commission chairman James Kreyenbuhl.

The commission confirmed a number of other charges against 30 Georgia candidates who face penalties for failing to provide enough personal financial information.

A bill passed during this year’s legislative session that took effect in March requires candidates to disclose income data for the past five years, which many candidates have neglected.

The consent process established by the commission allowed candidates to agree to the fees and pay the fine.

Four Democratic candidates who survived the recent spring primary and runoff have agreed to pay fines for campaign violations.

State Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, a Democratic candidate for attorney general, and Janice Laws Robinson, a Democratic candidate for insurance commissioner, agreed to pay a $625 fine for omitting past years’ income from their financial statements.

Both state Rep. William Boddie, D-East Point, the Democratic candidate for labor commissioner, and Alisha Thomas Searcy, the Democratic candidate for state school superintendent, failed to file personal financial statements on time. Each agreed to a $1,000 civil penalty and a $125 late fee.

Non-democrats also faced penalties.

Kartik Bhatt, who ran for state labor commissioner on the Republican primary in May, did not file his personal finance statement and also received and spent campaign funds before filing his statement of intent to run. Bhatt agreed to a civil penalty of $5,000.

David Raudabaugh, the Libertarian candidate for Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture, faced a $625 fine for failing to include past years’ income on his personal financial disclosure report.

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, who lost to Republican incumbent Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the primary, was hit with a $1,000 civil penalty for failing to file his personal financial statements on time.

A complete list of consent orders is available on the commission’s website.

This story is made available through a newspaper partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.




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