Isakson PAC files late to report $53K in GA donations
By JIM WALLS
Dec. 1, 2015 — U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s leadership PAC registered in Georgia last week, a day after Atlanta Unfiltered asked about its failure to report more than $53,000 in political donations last year.
The 21st Century Majority Fund, launched in 2000, regularly files reports on its contributors and spending with the Federal Election Commission.
In 2014, though, that spending included $33,300 donated to state and local candidates in Georgia, triggering a requirement that it also file disclosures with the state Campaign Finance Commission.
Joan Kirchner, Isakson’s chief of staff, acknowledged the oversight in an exchange of emails Thanksgiving week.
“[I]t appears you may have been right that we should have also filed a state disclosure in 2014,” Kirchner wrote in an Nov. 25 email. “In an abundance of caution, we have filed that disclosure today and paid late fees.”
While the PAC registered with Georgia last week, the commission has not yet accepted its disclosures of donations. The PAC submitted two reports on paper, which a commission attorney said were rejected because PACs must file electronically.
The commission will assess late fees once the reports are filed properly, the attorney said.
Atlanta Unfiltered found 21st Century’s donations to Georgia candidates with an online search of filings of campaigns that received the funds. The PAC gave $6,300 to Gov. Nathan Deal’s re-election campaign, $6,000 to other statewide officeholders and $21,000 to state House and Senate candidates. The state GOP and House and Senate caucuses split another $20,000 from the PAC.
Kirchner said Heath Garrett, a member of the Campaign Finance Commission and Isakson’s former chief of staff, was listed erroneously as the PAC’s chief financial officer in corporate registration records at the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.
Garrett has had nothing to do with the PAC since leaving Isakson’s staff in 2007, Kirchner said. She attributed the mixup to an internal clerical error.
“The bottom line is that it has always been Johnny who has made all the decisions about contributions from his leadership PAC,” she said.
Garrett said he was unaware of the confusion until a reporter asked him about it last week.