“Our organizations are being targeted for alleged transparency concerns with nothing but old tweets for evidence. … Meanwhile, allies of Brian Kemp created so-called leadership committees that can accept unlimited amounts from secret sources. In short, we’re not against accountability, but we are against hypocrisy,” Aklima Khondoker, chief legal officer for the New Georgia Project Action Fund, told the AJC.
Aria C. Branch, the lawyer representing both groups, added that the donations were used for operating expenses and canvassing for a subcontractor for a pro-Abrams political committee and therefore were not required to be disclosed.
“There is no hiding of money here,” Branch told the commission, AJC reports.
David Emadi is the ethics panel executive secretary, a Douglas County prosecutor, and a Kemp donor. Although it’s been reported that the investigation began before Emadi was hired, according to the AJC, it was Emadi who began to issue subpoenas from several Abrams-affiliated campaign groups.
Abrams’ camp says documents and records the panel has asked for have been handed over—even some that had nothing to do with the investigation.
Over half a million new voters in Georgia have been registered since Abrams launched the New Georgia Project in 2014. The organization focuses its efforts on those who’ve been historically underrepresented—younger, Black, and brown voters.
“They’re not run for the primary purpose of electing or nominating candidates to office,” Branch told the Georgia Recorder. “In this case, Georgia Project Action Fund has expertise in canvassing Black voters and underprivileged communities in Georgia, and it was hired for that purpose. … It’s our position that the bank records that have been obtained by the commission and that our amended complaint actually corroborate the vendor relationship and that vendors are not required by law to register or report as independent or campaign committees,” she added.
New Georgia Project chair Francys Johnson told The Root he was “totally unsurprised” the ethics panel decided to move forward with their claims.
“We’re not surprised that this commission has been weaponized to deter the work of the New Georgia Project, but make no mistake about it, we are resolved to continue the fight to make sure every Georgian can participate.”
Editor’s note: In the initial publication of this story Francys Johnson was named “she” that pronoun has been updated to reflect the correct pronoun “he.”
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