Georgia GOP Files Ethics Complaint Against Abrams

The Georgia Republican Party has filed an ethics complaint against the Stacey Abrams for Governor campaign alleging unlawful spending.

The 21-page complaint filed Wednesday, the Georgia GOP claims “the campaign broke campaign finance laws by approving a $250,000 TV advertisement for an imaginary gubernatorial run-off. Stacey Abrams’ campaign is also illegally using funds to digitally advertise the same “run-off.”

Under the law, unless an election is called for and set by the Secretary of State, television commercials cannot run. The Georgia GOP claims that Abrams decision to run the ad violates the ‘spirit and the letter of the law.’ The Party says election funds cannot be used for an election that is not occurring and that the use of funds for radio, television, and even staff is wrong.

The Party, in the complaint, asks the State Ethics Commission to take “immediate action.”

In a press release issued Wednesday, the GA GOP said, “Now is the time to bring Abrams’ political profiteering to an end. The Abrams campaign appears to be breaking the law by spending money on an election that does not exist. She is continuing to trick her supporters into thinking the 2018 race for Georgia Governor is not over, and her campaign is profiting off her fantasy.”

Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party John Watson also issued the following statement:

“Stacey Abrams has gone beyond just being a sore loser and is now blatantly breaking the law. She is ignoring the will of Georgians and leading an effort that makes a mockery of democracy. 
 
“Georgians recall that Abrams had no problem with Georgia’s election laws back in May when she won her primary. This frivolous effort to change the rules are solely due to her inability to accept she lost. She should concede and do the right thing for Georgians by supporting Governor Elect Kemp.”

You can read the full complaint below.

Ethics Complaint – Abrams for Governor Campaign

17
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
6 Comment threads
11 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
MichaelDave BearseGregsgulchbethebalance Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
chefdavid
chefdavid

What good will this do? Typically they don’t investigate complaints until after the election is over. Anybody know what the max fine would be if she did break a rule? Kind of a smart move in my opinion to try and get the good tv times if there was a run off.

gulch
gulch

If Abrams is breaking the law there is nothing at all wrong with calling her on it and demands for her lawbreaking to be indulged are highly improper. If you are going to take that route, then cite a law that the Kemp campaign should be allowed to break. And no, it can’t be this one. It has to be something else that you would otherwise be opposed to and not something that is “made OK” by Abrams doing it first.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

The amount of butthurt radiating from Kemp/GaGOP is palpable. If you’re confident you’ve got the votes, just let the process play out.

The D “won” UT-04 on Election Day and Mia Love has subsequently closed the gap. I’m not seeing a wave of Democrats pushing conspiracy theories and nonsense about Republicans trying to steal an election.

gulch
gulch

Please take a position on whether Stacey Abrams’ ad is a violation of state law or not. If your position is that it is not, then please explain. If your position is that this is a violation of state law that the Abrams campaign should be indulged in this instance, please cite a state law relevant to this election battle that Brian Kemp should be allowed to break in exchange.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Read the statutes first and then get back to me. As explained below these are gubernatorial campaign expenditures for a gubernatorial campaign that’s still being contested.

NoParty4Me
NoParty4Me

What am I missing? Is “approving” a campaign expenditure breaking the law? Is reserving ad time breaking the law? OR is it only breaking the law if the ad money was actually spent and the ad run?

bethebalance
bethebalance

Well, the alleged issue is whether she is using money that is allocated to the run-off to pay for general election expenditures- which would be an issue only where the donors gave a max amount based upon the sum of general and run-off limits (Or if the donor specified the donation was for the run-off). It would not be illegal for her campaign to promote that there should be a run-off, or to be prepared for a run-off, etc. But the last campaign disclosure was due a week before the election, to account for spending through two weeks before the… Read more »

gulch
gulch

No. The crux of the matter is that Abrams can’t use funds to advertise for an election that doesn’t exist. (Abrams and her supporters may desire for it to exist but until the necessary votes are accounted for it does not and will not.)

It is easy to see why this statute exists because it keeps people from getting ripped off. If you believe that an exception in the statute should exist to cover contingencies such as this, fine. Go ahead and pass a law that does so.

bethebalance
bethebalance

“Can’t use funds to advertise for an election that doesn’t exist.” Oh, is that the statute? No. That’s the spin. Or a loose argument at best. Campaign finance law and compliance is a specialty of mine, so I have full confidence in that. The Complaint argues that she’s illegally using funds for a run-off when she hasn’t even disclosed whether she’s using funds from run-off or not. And as I mentioned, there is zero problem in saying we need to be prepared for a run-off, or expect a run-off, or even “be prepared to vote in a run-off”. About the… Read more »

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

But the election does exist. It’s still going on. The gubernatorial race isn’t over until the results are certified, hoss.

As for the statutes cited by the GaGOP, neither 21-5-33 nor 21-5-43 expressly prohibit run-off expenditures before it is determined a run-off is necessary. Further, neither appear to expressly prohibit spending money on elections that “don’t exist.” 21-5-33(d)(1) clearly contemplates expenditures on campaigns to organize a recall or an elected official or put a constitutional measure on the ballot, elections that – at the time those expenditures are made “don’t exist.”

NoParty4Me
NoParty4Me

Thanks. I appreciate the donor allocation related info. Is there anything illegal about reserving future ad time, even paying a deposit for said air time if the ad time is never used? The suit seems just that simple minded.

bethebalance
bethebalance

Of course you can reserve ad time, or cancel it.
The Complaint will be administratively dismissed (i.e. there will be no hearing) not too long after the election. It may, though, prompt the Commission to produce an Advisory Opinion or equivalent.

Benevolus
Benevolus

It’s a good time to be a lawyer.

Gregs
Gregs

Or a fool!

bethebalance
bethebalance

Most of the lawyers working these cases are probably volunteering their work, but we can see who’s getting paid or donating when the disclosures come out.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Is this like the SoS announcing an investigation of the DPG for hacking the state voter database three days before the election?

And why haven’t the feds been notified?

Michael
Michael

The only thing that makes me think Abrams might actually have a chance at a run off is the behavior of the Republican Party/Kemp Campaign.