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Ex-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)
  • 2014: $1,391 (8 days)

Posted Oct. 26, 2012; last updated Jan. 25, 2015

 

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