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Senate candidate Dee Dawkins-Haigler (SD 43): $25K unaccounted for


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Dorothea Renee Dawkins-Haigler (D-Lithonia)

running for Senate District 43 (DeKalb, Rockdale & Newton counties)

Dee Dawkins-Haigler

Dee Dawkins-Haigler

Every time Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler files a campaign finance disclosure, it’s wrong. Cash on hand routinely disappears, debt fluctuates without explanation, and expenses go unreported.

As a result, it’s been impossible to tell how much campaign cash she’s had at any given point during her four terms in the Georgia House.

Under state law, legislators’ campaigns must report a running total of all donations and spending on each of the seven disclosures required during a two-year election cycle. They’re supposed to carry over the totals from their previous filing, add new contributions and expenses and report current cash on hand.

But, with just two exceptions, Dawkins-Haigler has started every disclosure since 2008 with a zero balance, regardless of the cash balance shown on her previous filing. By doing so, she’s failed to account for the previously reported donations that she hadn’t spent.

Dawkins-Haigler did not respond to telephone messages seeking comment.

The disappearing amounts range from $6,750 to a negative balance of $9,250. All told, a review of campaign filings through March 2016 shows, about $25,580 in unspent cash has gone missing from Dawkins-Haigler’s disclosures since 2008 without explanation.

(UPDATE: Since we called, however, she filed two disclosures that reported prior contributions for her Senate campaign correctly. That leaves $12,330 in unspent donations to her past House campaigns unaccounted for.)

It seems likely that much of that money has been used to repay money borrowed by the campaign (although she apparently hasn’t always reported loan payoffs as required). But even if every penny has been repaid, more than $2,400 in donations would remain unaccounted for.

Complicating matters is the sloppiness with which Dawkins-Haigler’s campaign has reported its debt and payments on loans. In 2011, for instance, the campaign paid back $1,800 on a loan but reported its debt was unchanged. A few months later, it borrowed another $1,500 but reported that the debt had instead dropped by nearly three times as much.

Dawkins-Haigler has also failed to disclose at least $2,000 in campaign expenses. The state Democratic Party reported that she paid her $400 qualifying fee five times between 2008 and 2016, but Dawkins-Haigler never reported it.

Dawkins-Haigler missed her disclosure deadline 16 times from 2006 to 2010, accumulating $1,150 in late fees, the state ethics commission’s website shows. She’s filed everything on time since 2011.

 Legislative website

Campaign website

Voting record

Born: 1970

Political career

  • Finished fourth in a 2006 race for the Georgia Senate, polling 12.5%.
  • Elected in 2008 to the House, winning a special election 54-46% and, two months later, the Democratic nomination for a full term 61-39%.
  • Re-elected in 2010 and 2012 without opposition.
  • Re-elected in 2014, winning the Democratic primary 70-30%.
  • Polled 34% in the May 2016 Democratic primary for Senate District 43; faces ex-Rep. Tonya Anderson in a July runoff.

Committee assignments

  • Banks & Banking (2008 – present)
  • Human Relations & Aging (2009 – present)
  • Industrial Relations (2009 – present)
  • Science & Technology (2015 – present)
  • Motor Vehicles (2008)


  • Human resources director, AME Church — Sixth Episcopal District.

Business ownership interests

  • Owner, DDH & Associates, consulting.
  • CEO/founder, TIME 1000, consulting.

Other fiduciary positions

  • UNDISCLOSED: Chaplain & board member, National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Real estate holdings

  • Personal residence in Lithonia valued at $125,000.
  • House in West Columbia, S.C., valued at $43,000.

Other investments

  • None disclosed.

Payments from state agencies

  • None disclosed.

Friends and Family

  • Dawkins-Haigler served as Georgia field/political director for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign.
  • She managed Sharon Barnes Sutton’s campaign for the DeKalb County Commission in 2008. In 2012, she was Sutton’s campaign treasurer.

Campaign contributions

Dawkins-Haigler has raised more than $106,000 in political donations since 2006. She, her husband and a supporter have loaned the campaign an additional $43,800; it’s unclear how much has been paid back. (She’s reported paying back $10,650 but shows a current debt of $20,000) The breakdown of donations by election cycle:

  • 2006: $26,079
  • 2008: $30,528
  • 2009-10: $6,098
  • 2011-12: $2,601
  • 2013-14: $34,177
  • 2015-16: $30,817
  • Reported cash on hand (July 2016): $619

Top donors

  • $9,301 Sen. Emanuel Jones & other Democratic lawmakers
  • $7,250 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
  • $6,300 Georgia’s Win List, pro-choice advocacy group
  • $3,500 Planned Parenthood
  • $3,500 United Parcel Service
  • $3,000 Rosemounda Butler, West Columbia, S.C., retired educator
  • $2,500 Georgia Association of Educators
  • $2,500 Radio One, Silver Spring, Md.
  • $2,300 Bishop William Deveaux, Smyrna, Ga., AME Church
  • $2,000 American Federation for Children
  • $2,000 Yvette Carnell, Decatur, Ga., consultant, DDH and Associates
  • $2,000 Emily’s List, pro-choice advocacy group
  • $2,000 Georgia Federation of Teachers
  • $2,000 Liuna
  • $2,000 Bernita Smith, Atlanta, Ga., consultant
  • $1.400 Barnes
  • 1k ga fed

Campaign spending

Since 2013, Dawkins-Haigler’s campaign has paid $7,836 in credit card charges for travel and other expenses without disclosing the end recipient as required by state law.

Campaign-to-campaign donations

Candidates may give campaign funds to other candidates, a practice that some say provides a legal means to circumvent contribution limits. A 2003 bill to ban such transfers altogether passed in the Senate but died in the House. Dawkins-Haigler’s campaign made a handful of such donations:

  • 2008: $400
Lobbyist freebies

Since 2008, lobbyists have reported paying more than $3,200 for meals and other gifts for Dawkins-Haigler. The big spenders:
  • Georgia Power Co ($1,112)
  • American Federation for Children ($199)
  • Georgia Association of Manufacturers ($198)

Committee days & travel expenses

When out of session, legislators may collect $173 per day plus mileage for committee meetings or other official business. Those living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging.

  • 2008: $2,599 (12 days)
  • 2009: $2,086 (11 days)
  • 2010: $2,608 (14 days)
  • 2011: $3,605 (12 days)
  • 2012: $4,342 (12 days)
  • 2013: $4,920 (14 days)
  • 2014: $4,367 (12 days)
  • 2015: $7,833 (20 days)

 Posted July 6, 2016; updated July 25, 2016





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