Cobb school board’s David Morgan: Forgot to pay ethics fine
By JIM WALLS
April 20, 2016 — Last June, Cobb County school board member David Morgan acknowledged he’d failed to file four years of campaign disclosures and agreed to pay a $3,600 fine in twice-monthly installments.
Three weeks later, though, Morgan missed the first payment; after that, Atlanta Unfiltered has learned, he didn’t pay a penny of the fine until we called him last week.
Morgan told me Thursday that the payments simply slipped his mind. He said he’s set up a system to make sure he doesn’t forget again.
“One of the things I do differently now is I put reminders in my phone. That helps me remember it,” he said. “I just have a lot going on.”
Morgan said he had called the state Campaign Finance Commission and “reworked” the installment plan and that he’s been making payments on schedule since then. He said he couldn’t recall how many payments he’d made.
In fact, Morgan didn’t make his first $100 payment until Friday, according to the state commission. That was the day after his comments to Atlanta Unfiltered.
Morgan’s non-payment led to an April 1 demand letter from the commission asking him to pony up $2,000 in missed payments by May 2. If he didn’t, staff attorney Robert Lane wrote, the commission would ask Attorney General Sam Olens to pursue contempt and collection proceedings.
Lane said Morgan called last week seeking an extension but was told the commission was unlikely to agree. For now, the terms of the original payment plan remain in effect. The commission may still refer the case for collection unless Morgan continues to make timely payments.
In a June 2015 consent order, Morgan acknowledged he had failed to file 10 disclosures of campaign finances from 2008 to 2012, when the commission opened a case against him. He also failed to file three disclosures of his personal finances.
He agreed to a $3,600 fine to be paid off twice a month in $100 installments. Under the order, the last payment is due in January 2017.
Morgan, first elected to the Cobb Board of Education in 2008, is seeking nomination for a third term in next month’s Democratic primary. Since 2008, he’s also lobbied state legislators promoting charter schools and school vouchers on behalf of the Washington, D.C.-based American Federation for Children.