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    Rep. Simone Bell

     

    Leaders in the public sector have plenty of 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:

    Simone Bell (D-Atlanta)

    HD 58 (Fulton and DeKalb counties)

    Legislative website

    Campaign website

    Voting record

    Overview

    Bell did not file a personal financial disclosure in 2010 covering her financial interests in the prior year, according to the state ethics commission’s website. Commission records show she has been assessed $950 in late filing fees (and still owes $375) since winning a 2009 special election.

    Political career

    • Won a 2009 special election with 56% of the vote over Asha Jackson, another Democrat.
    • Re-elected without opposition in 2010.
    • Won 58% of the vote to defeat fellow incumbent Ralph Long III in the 2012 Democratic primary after both were drawn into the same legislative district; won 2012 general election with 87% of the vote.
    • Faces Long’s wife, Erica Long, in the May 2014 Democratic primary.

    Committee assignments

    • Children & Youth (2010 – 2012)
    • Human Relations & Aging (2010 – present)
    • Intragovernmental Coordination (2013 – present)
    • Juvenile Justice (2013 – present)
    • State Planning & Community Affairs (2010 – present)

    Occupation

    • Self-employed consultant. Bell said that work consists of speaking engagements, generally for non-profit or college organizations.
    • Before entering politics, Bell worked as a community educator for The Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative and Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, “educating communities about the need for access to affordable and quality health care,” according to her campaign website.

    Business ownership interests

    • None disclosed.

    Fiduciary positions

    • None disclosed.

    Investment interests

    • None disclosed.

    Real estate holdings

    • UNDISCLOSED: Personal residence in Atlanta, valued at $213,000

    Payments from state agencies

    • None disclosed.

    Ethics filings

    • Bell, as of May 2014, owed $375 in late fees for filing three campaign disclosures late.

    Campaign contributions

    Donors have given more than $109,000 to Bell’s campaigns since 2009. The breakdown by election cycle:

    • 2009: $67,281
    • 2010: $8,735
    • 2011-12: $28,645
    • 2013-14: $4,600
    • Reported cash on hand (April 2014): $1,700

    Top donors

    • $5,700 Michael Grover, Cox Communications
    • $5,400 Sen. Nan Orrock & other Democratic legislators
    • $4,800 John C. Prosser, AutoTrader
    • $3,200 Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund
    • $2,750 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
    • $2,500 Georgia’s WIN List
    • $2,500 B. Rodney White and Michael Williams, Making Projects Work
    • $2,350 Funny Farm Photographic Services (in-kind donation)
    • $1,700 Gail Cowie, Atlanta, Ga.
    • $1,550 Jamie Roberts, public defender

    Campaign-to-campaign donations

    Candidates may make political donations with campaign funds, allowing prolific fund-raisers to share their contributions with other legislators or candidates. Some advocacy groups believe such transfers should be limited to an aggregate of $10,000 per election cycle. Bell’s committee made these political donations:

    • 2009-10: $250
    • 2011-12: $406

    Lobbyist freebies

    Lobbyists have reported paying for meals and other gifts for Bell valued at more than $1,000 since 2009. The big spender: Georgia Equality ($185).

    • 2009: $32
    • 2010: $29
    • 2011: $318
    • 2012: $363
    • 2013: $130
    • 2014: $190 through April 30

    Committee days & travel expenses

    When the Legislature is out of session, members may collect $173 per diem, plus mileage, for attending a committee meeting or conducting other official business. Lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, which were originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging.

    • 2010: $868 (5 days)
    • 2011: $1,391 (8 days)
    • 2012: $1,564 (9 days)
    • 2013: $1,566 (9 days)

    Posted Oct. 26, 2012; last updated May 8, 2013

     

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