Investigation finds Cobb County sheriff used his office, charity work to help campaign

The sheriff?s attorney says this is a situation that is mostly resolved.

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The Cobb County sheriff is the subject of an ethics investigation involving a charity and campaign donations.

The sheriff’s attorney told Channel 2’s Lori Wilson that this is a situation that is, for the most part, resolved.

Neil Warren has been Cobb County’s sheriff for 15 years and is running again this fall.

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For the last several months he's also been the subject of an ethics campaign finance investigation.

Our investigative partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution say documents raise ethical questions about Warren’s annual Corn Boilin’ event.

The AJC reports that documents prove county employees, relationships and resources were used to organize the event, and that it was billed as a charity event rather than a campaign fundraiser.

Wilson raised those questions with Warren's attorney, Doug Chalmers. He said Warren is proud of his annual Corn Boilin' event.

“(It) raises money both for his campaign and for charity. Every year he has raised at least $10,000 for the Cobb County Youth Museum, which is a 501(c)3 charity. Any allegation that he has not done that would be false,” Chalmers told Wilson by phone on Friday.

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But the AJC points to campaign finance disclosures online that show that in 2019, there was no donation made by Warren's campaign to the museum.

Chalmers said that's because the sheriff's campaign commits to raise $10,000 every year, and has donors make checks payable directly to the museum.

Warren said he didn’t disclose the donations in past years because donations were less than $10,000.

He said this year is the first year donations were $10,500, so he didn't have to make up any gap.

The other issue that came up is found in emails. Those emails allege that Warren used county employees that are on county time to organize an event that is a campaign event.

“The sheriff is also taking full responsibility in making sure that there is complete separation between campaign and government activities,” Chalmers said. “We've produced many documents for the ethics commission, and we're happy that we've reached a settlement in principle with them that we expect will fully resolve all issues.”

Chalmers says even though they have reached an agreement with the ethics board, the details of that agreement cannot be made public until it’s voted on by the full commission in April.