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Nov. 4 update: A day before the election, Winslow hasn’t filed a report on her campaign finances since July, missing two disclosure deadlines.
Cleta Winslow paid $6,920 in fines and restitution for spending tax dollars to boost her 2009 re-election bid, after she’d been warned against using city resources in her political activity. This year, her opponent charges, she used public money again to bus senior citizens to her campaign kickoff party. It’s impossible to tell whether she used campaign funds for that event because, three weeks after the deadline, her campaign still hasn’t filed a required report on its donations and spending.
Winslow’s campaign finance are also a bit of a mess. She hasn’t filed a campaign disclosure since June, and earlier reports suggest more than $6,000 in donations are unaccounted for.
Torry Lewis owes the state ethics commission $550 for late filings related to his campaigns for the state Legislature in 2006 and 2008. Some of the late fees were incurred, Lewis said, because he did not realize that the law at the time required filing disclosures with both state and county officials. His business also owes the state Department of Labor $1,695 for unpaid unemployment taxes.
Carla Smith, seeking her fourth term on City Council, has raised a relatively modest $158,000 in campaign funds since 2001. Of her $148,000 in itemized donations, real-estate development interests gave at least $56,050, or 38 percent, an analysis of campaign disclosures shows. Engineers and other construction contractors kicked in another $9,900. The Atlanta Braves, who play their home games in District 1, along with Turner Field food vendor Aramark and broadcaster TBS donated $8,900 between them.
Robert Welsh, a budget manager at the State Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, is making his first run for office. He’s raised more than $11,000 in cash and in-kind donations.
Ivory Young was one to two moths late in filing the last two campaign finance reports due before the 2013 city election, and he still hasn’t filed the personal financial disclosures due in September, lapses that he attributes to the illness of a campaign aide. It’s not the first time he’s filed such disclosures late or not at all, though; he’s accumulated 16 unpaid late fees totaling $1,450 since 2003.
In 2007 and 2008, Young collected $46,245, including donations from real estate investors and developers while he chaired the council’s Zoning Committee, for a trust fund that paid for parties and gifts for constituents. Critics said the spending helped curry political favor with constituents and would have been better handled by a charitable group. Young said donors received no favors in return.
Fletcher, founder in 2008 of the Walking Through the Vine ministry, has raised $3,500 in campaign donors. He previously ran for the District 3 Council seat in 2009, finishing with 21% of the vote.
Oct. 22, 2013 — State Auditor Greg Griffin, rather than the attorney general’s office, will try to sort out charges that a 2012 ethics investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal was compromised. Griffin agreed to investigate allegations that the director of the state ethics commission, after talks with key staffers in Deal’s office, ordered the case closed with a minimal penalty. The commission, which announced Griffin’s role late today, had voted last month to ask Attorney General Sam Olens to name a special assistant to review its handling of the case.
Olens, as it happened, had been mentioned
as one possible factor in Deal’s resolve to settle the case in 2012 rather than let it reach a public hearing. A commission attorney has testified she was told that the governor didn’t want Olens, a potential rival in the 2014 governor’s race, to play any role in the proceedings.
Oct. 8, 2013 — Georgia lawmakers touted their 2013 ethics bill as historic, noting that they’d restored rule-making authority to the Campaign Finance Commission. Now, though, House Speaker David Ralston’s lawyer, Doug Chalmers, contends the commission can’t enforce a key disclosure rule on campaign spending. That interpretation, if it prevails, could muzzle the watchdog charged with policing campaign finance and disclosure in Georgia. Politicians could obscure details of countless dollars in campaign spending simply by using a personal credit card and getting reimbursed with campaign funds.
Oct. 7, 2013 — The Georgia Supreme Court today unanimously ordered disbarment of Atlanta City Council member H. Lamar Willis for taking $30,000 from a client and failing to repay it. Willis’s actions, the high court said, demonstrate his “extreme disregard of his duty to safeguard the property of a client, which undermines the public trust.”