State Watch

Georgia ethics chief to issue subpoenas in investigation of Abrams gubernatorial campaign

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The new director of Georgia’s state ethics commission will subpoena bank records from 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ campaign, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

David Emadi, previously a prosecutor for Douglas County before assuming office Monday, will also soon make a decision on whether to charge campaigns of Atlanta mayoral candidates for campaign finance fraud.

{mosads}Emadi said Thursday he expects to subpoena bank and finance records for the Abrams campaign and several associated political action committees and special interest groups. Independent groups, which are forbidden by law from coordinating with candidates, spent millions on Abrams’ campaign, with much of coming from wealthy out-of-state donors, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Emadi replaced Stefan Ritter, who was accused of watching pornography at work and telling staff not to pursue potential campaign finance violations by candidates for city and statewide office, according to the newspaper. Ritter resigned in February.

“The Abrams campaign worked diligently to ensure compliance throughout the election and, had we been notified of any irregularities, would have immediately taken action to rectify them,” Lauren Groh-Wargo, who managed Abrams’ 2018 campaign, told the newspaper. “The new ethics chief – a [Republican Gov. Brian] Kemp donor and former Republican Party leader — is using his power to threaten and lob baseless partisan accusations at the former Abrams campaign, when they should be focused on real problems like the unethical ties between the governor’s office and voting machine lobbyists instead.”

Abrams has been talked up as a potential candidate for both president and for Senate in 2020, and has suggested she will make a decision on whether to run soon, while also shooting down speculation she would join a presidential ticket with former Vice President Joe Biden, the current polling frontrunner among potential Democratic candidates.

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