GA Ethics Commission Finds Probable Cause Against 2 Abrams Non-Profits in Campaign Scandal

The Veracity Report

The probable cause is said to stem from several suspicious expenditures the non-profits made on behalf of Abrams' campaign between 2017 and 2019

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This non-satirical, un-opinionated, fully attributed, and unbiased article was compiled by the accredited and degreed veteran investigative reporter Kurt Dillon. It is comprised of information compiled from the following sources: The Associated Press, Reuters, and Georgia.gov.

On Monday, August 1st, the Georgia State Ethics Commission found probable cause that the New Georgia Project and New Georgia Project Action Fund, two non-profit organizations which were founded by Stacey Abrams prior to her failed 2018 campaign for Governor of Georgia, bypassed state financial disclosure laws by funding various purchases and expenditures for her failed 2018 campaign and not disclosing that financial assistance to the campaign as required by law.

Each of the non-profits are suspected of having bought campaign flyers and funded election canvassing to the tune of some $4.2 million dollars in campaign contributions and an additional $3 million dollars of Abrams’ campaign expenses between 2017 and 2019.

Attorneys representing the voting rights advocacy groups said Monday the organizations’ behavior was typical of other nonprofits and the ethics agency’s investigations failed to prove that organizations intended to influence voters.

Abrams’ campaign spokespersons have declared the probes to be politically motivated as the challenger’s second bid for Georgia’s highest office appears to be lagging in the polls as it heads into November’s election against Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

The bank records of the two organizations were obtained through subpoenas in late 2019. The investigation began soon after the ethics commission hired former Douglas County prosecutor David Emadi to serve as its executive secretary.

Among the expenses was $36,000 paid to a printing company to produce doorknockers listing a slate of Democratic candidates to vote for in 2018.

And the action fund should’ve reported $4.2 million in 2018, a time when canvassers were paid to encourage people to vote for Abrams.

“Under Georgia law, it’s clear that if you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound,” Emadi said at Monday’s hearing. “If an organization is an independent committee, it has to disclose all of the money going in and out of that organization during the election period.”

“They’re not run for the primary purpose of electing or nominating candidates to office,” said Aria C. Branch, the group’s attorney.

Branch, however, said, “the canvassing was part of an agreement to contract their staff with an independent committee. The action fund reimbursed the costs of canvassers who were initially paid out of the New Georgia account. The nonprofits were engaged in activities similar to a museum having a gift shop or renting out space for weddings.”

Branch went on to say: “It’s our position that the bank records that have been obtained by the commission and that our amended complaint actually corroborate the vendor relationship and that vendors are not required by law to register or report as independent or campaign committees.”

Some commissioners said that while they voted to proceed beyond the preliminary hearing stage, they had questions about the ethics commission wading into agreements like typical business subcontracts. The shift from a charitable organization to campaign group also would mean that donors can’t remain anonymous.

“I share some of Commissioner (Rick) Thompson’s concerns about the slippery slope,” commission member David Burge said. “I think it’s an issue that’s going to have to be vetted more thoroughly in a different forum.”

Branch went on to say that affiliated nonprofits often share staff and office space but are treated as separate entities under law. “There’s nothing that is problematic about those reimbursements having taken place, it’s really for administrative convenience when you’re running affiliated nonprofits,” she said.

Compiled by Chief Political Correspondent Kurt Dillon - Because the Truth Matters!

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