The State Ethics Commission of Georgia is now investigating Stacey Abrams, according to documents obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday.
The Ethics Commission subpoenaed a wide swath of communications between the Abrams campaign and left-leaning groups, including the voter empowerment effort Abrams co-founded.
The Commission intends to present evidence that Abrams received more than the maximum lawful amount in donations from four organizations in her campaign against Brian Kemp for the governorship. This has garnered allegations that Kemp is using the Ethics Commission as a means to start investigating his political adversaries.
This wouldn’t be the first instance of Kemp using the levers of government against Abrams. During the campaign, he was roundly criticized for actions he took as election overseer to benefit himself as a candidate. Nor was the move much of a surprise. The commission’s chief David Emadi has been preparing for this fight since he took office last month. Emadi was also a heavy donor to Kemp’s campaign.
Despite the conflicts of interest evident in Kemp’s campaign that garnered attention of former president and fair elections watchdog Jimmy Carter, Emadi wouldn’t indicate if he was investigating any Republicans. He did, though, contend that he does not prosecute a partisan agenda.
“I fundamentally believe that to be a neutral arbiter, to be an impartial umpire calling balls and strikes, you can’t affiliate with any of that,” said Emadi. “This is an inherently political position, but as a former prosecutor, I am comfortable and I have been comfortable making decisions that people may not like.”
The Ethics Commission has issued nine subpoenas demanding a webwork of internal communications from Democratic-aligned organizations.
Abrams’ attorney, who said her client has nothing to hide and is complying with the investigation, nevertheless called Emadi out for a lack of probable cause to justify the wide scope of the investigation. She characterized the investigation as a “fishing expedition” at best. Commentary on social media reflected concerns that the investigation is an act of intimidation.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.