State Ethics Commission says Atlanta mayor not cooperating with election investigation

State ethics commission says Atlanta mayor not cooperating with investigation into campaign contributions

ATLANTA — The fallout from a long and expensive 2017 City of Atlanta mayor’s race is still being felt some three years later as ethics investigations dog the participants.

In August, the Georgia Ethics Commission fined the losing candidate, Mary Norwood some $27,000 which Norwood immediately paid off.

However the Commission tells Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Richard Belcher the winner, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, is not cooperating with its investigation into hundreds of thousands of dollars in suspected illegal campaign contributions.

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Bottoms campaign reported spending roughly $2.6 million on the campaign including the cost of a runoff with Norwood. After the election, the Ethics Commission launched reviews of how money was spent with Bottoms finances as one of the focal points.

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The Commission notified Bottoms attorneys this past December that they found evidence of nearly $400,000 of financial irregularities within the campaign. The mayor’s office contends they aren’t telling the truth.

The Commission contends that $300,000 of that money was improperly collected for the general election campaign after the election period had closed.

Executive Secretary David Emadi emailed Belcher stating the Bottoms campaign continues its failure to comply with their investigation in any meaningful way. Emadi said the Commission hasn’t received campaign bank records which they subpoenaed after Bottoms claimed she would provide all requested documents and be fully transparent.

“The average citizen can’t take a look at campaign bank records, but the ethics commission can and I believe in this case they should,” said William Perry of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs. Perry believes getting the bank records from campaign is critical.

“The good news for Georgians is there is a director in that office who is blunt, who is very aggressive in going after these cases and the fact that the campaign is not responding shows that there is a problem, " Perry added.

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