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    Rashad Taylor reports some undisclosed donations ($15K+ to go)

     

    Leaders in the public sector have plenty of public resources to promote their political views, accomplishments and experience. Often the public record holds much more: personal and campaign finance disclosures, expense reports, and business, tax and court filings. Here’s what they show:

    Rashad Jamal Taylor (D-Atlanta)

    District 55 (portions of Fulton County)

    (running for re-election in District 57)

    Legislative website

    Campaign website

    Rashad Taylor

    Overview: Taylor has stayed busy running other candidates’ campaigns, but he’s cut quite a few corners in running his own. Five times since 2008, Taylor has skipped filing disclosures of his personal or campaign finances, failing to report receiving at least $15,000 in political contributions, an analysis of donors’ disclosures shows. He turned in nine other disclosures late, often by several months or more.

    He told Atlanta Unfiltered in 2011 that he planned to catch up with his campaign disclosures by the end of the year, but he has not done so. He did file new disclosures for late 2011 and early 2012, but they reported none of the $12,975 that other candidates and registered political committees said they’d given him in those reporting periods.

    Taylor did not respond to email and telephone messages seeking comment. He offered no defense in a November 2011 interview.

    “There’s really no excuse for not having filed my disclosures that are missing,” he told Atlanta Unfiltered at that time. “I just haven’t gotten it done.”

    Taylor filed the 2012 disclosure of his personal finances on July 25, six weeks after it was due. He did not file those disclosures for 2009 and 2010 until November 2011, shortly after Atlanta Unfiltered asked him about them. He has never filed the disclosure required in May 2008 when he first ran for the House; he has said he didn’t know he had to.

    Taylor’s residency was questioned in a June 19 article on the website Atlanta Progressive News. He later accused APN news editor Matthew Cardinale, who is openly gay, of helping to produce homophobic political flyers targeting Taylor.

    By Taylor’s estimate, the House Democratic Caucus spent about $25,000 — far in excess of the $2,400 limit on contributions to legislative candidates — to help him win the 2010 Democratic primary. Party officials argued the caucus was part of the Democratic Party, which is exempt from spending limits in some circumstances, and the expenditure was therefore appropriate. The Georgia Campaign Finance Commission issued an advisory opinion in March 2011 that, under Georgia law, such caucuses are not part of a political party and therefore are not exempt from the contribution limits.

    Political career

    • Elected in 2008 with 63 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, replacing Rep. Able Mable Thomas, who ran for Congress instead.
    • Won the 2010 primary with 56 percent of the vote to fend off Thomas’s bid to regain her seat.
    • Currently running for re-election against fellow Rep. Pat Gardner, who was drawn into the same district in reapportionment.
    • Elected vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in November 2010.
    • Formerly interned for U.S. Rep. John Lewis and worked in the campaign of former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland.

    Legislative committees

    • Education
    • MARTA Oversight (2009-10)
    • Regulated Industries
    • Ways & Means

    Occupation

    • Political and public relations consultant. Served as deputy campaign manager for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in 2009 and as campaign manager for Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan, former Atlanta Board of Education chairman Khaatim S. El and Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves.
    • Eaves, who was re-elected in 2010, reported paying Taylor’s campaign consulting business, Five Eleven LLC, $8,000 in campaign funds in December 2011.
    • In 2011, he ran the campaign of Baltimore mayoral candidate Catherine Pugh. Maryland campaign finance records show she paid Taylor or his consulting firm more than $121,000 for salary and campaign expenses.
    • Former political director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, 2007-09.
    • Taylor registered as a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood in 2007. He filed lobbyist expenditure disclosures that year for January and February (reporting no spending), but not the nine other reports due that year.

    Ethics cases

    • As of July 2012, Taylor owed $875 for nine disclosures that were filed late or, in one case, not at all. No late fees have been assessed yet for overdue disclosures that he hasn’t filed yet.

    Taxes

    • The Georgia Department of Revenue imposed liens totaling $3,161 on Taylor for unpaid income taxes for 2008 and 2009. Online records indicate they remain unpaid.

    Business ownership interests

    • NOW DISCLOSED: Five Eleven LLC, political consulting firm, formed in May 2009 but undisclosed until November 2011, after Atlanta Unfiltered asked Taylor about it. (The company did not file its annual registration with the Georgia Secretary of State for 2011 or 2012.) 

    Fiduciary positions

    • None disclosed

    Investment interests

    • None disclosed

    Real estate holdings

    • None disclosed

    Business transactions with state government

    • None disclosed.

    Friends & family

    • Taylor’s campaign chairman, Tharon Johnson, also ran Kasim Reed’s 2009 campaign for mayor of Atlanta and serves as 2012 Southern regional director of Obama for America. Johnson was a registered lobbyist for the city of Atlanta in 2010 and the Georgia Food Industry Association, promoting local referenda on Sunday alcohol sales, in 2011.

    Campaign contributions

    Taylor’s campaign account has collected at least $114,553 in donations since 2008. There may well be more, since other donors’ disclosures have reported giving Taylor more than $15,000 that he has not reported receiving. The breakdown by election cycle:

    • 2008: $47,477
    • 2009-10 (through June 2010): $22,401. Registered political action committees and other candidates reported giving Taylor an additional $11,275 that Taylor did not disclose in 2009 and 2010. Other donors may have given him more.
    • 2011-12: $29,525 (UNDISCLOSED: Registered political action committees and other candidates have reported giving him $3,875 in this period that he has not disclosed). Other donors, as in 2009-10, may have given him more.

    Top donors 

    • $7,300 Friends of [Sen.] Vincent Fort
    • $5,400 D.R.I.V.E. – Democrat, Republican, Independent Voter Education
    • $4,900 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
    • $2,350 Planned Parenthood & executives Ikeita Hinojosa & Kay Scott
    • $2,300 Aycox and Aycox (title pawn lender)
    • $2.250 Khaatim Sherrer El (former Atlanta Board of Education member)
    • $2,000 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (Civil Justice PAC)
    • $1,900 Georgia Association of Realtors
    • $1,750 Georgia Association of Educators
    • $1,750 Holland & Knight (law firm)
    • $1,500 Maisha Handy (administrator, International Theological Center)
    • $1,500 MHR International Inc.
    • $1,500 Bonita Snipes (Taylor’s mother)
    • $1,500 Kenneth Williams (technology consultant)
    • $1,450 Benchmark Management LLC (construction administration) and its president, Jan Bryson

    Campaign spending

    • Taylor reported no campaign expenditures since mid-2010 through March 2012.
    • In 2008, Taylor loaned his campaign $10,500. It has reported paying him back $3,750.

    Campaign-to-campaign donations

    Currently, campaign committees can give unlimited funds to other candidates and political parties, allowing prolific fund-raisers to spread donations to as many other legislators as they choose. Some advocacy groups believe such transfers should be limited to an aggregate of $10,000 for each election cycle.

    Taylor reported making three campaign contributions for a total of $525 in 2009. Other candidates’ campaigns since then have reported receiving $1,825 from Taylor that he has not disclosed. In 2010, the Democratic Party of Georgia also reported that Taylor’s campaign had given it $19,000 in donations that he did not disclose; that money may have helped to pay for mass mailings sent to voters in Taylor’s district before that year’s Democratic primary. Here are the political donations from Taylor’s committee:

    • 2008: 0
    • 2009-10: $21,050
    • 2011-12: $300

    Lobbyist gifts (reported value)

    Lobbyists have reported spending $2,850 on Taylor since 2009, including four Atlanta Falcons tickets and four Wrestlemania tickets valued at more than $1,100. All such disclosed spending, broken down by year:

    • 2009: $844
    • 2010: $851
    • 2011: $879
    • 2012: $276 (through June 30)

    Per diem & travel expenses (committee days)

    When the Georgia Legislature is out of session, members may request $173 per diem for “committee days” when they are attending meetings or otherwise attending to public business. Lawmakers who live within 50 miles of the Capitol pay income tax on these payments, which were originally intended to cover food and lodging for out-of-town members. (Members may submit vouchers for committee days until April 15 of the following calendar year. Committee days compiled below therefore may include some days from the prior year.)

    • 2009: $2,955 (17 days)
    • 2010: $1,737 (10 days)
    • 2011: $2,085 (12 days)

     

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