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Bottoms slapped with $37k fine following GA Log Cabin ethics complaint

Punishment for Bottoms ‘should have gone further,’ critics say.

Keisha Lance Bottoms // People.com

Democrat mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms has been fined $37,000 for accepting illegal campaign contributions, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

On Wednesday the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission fined Democrat Bottoms $37,000 for violations that occurred during and after her 2017 election bid, in which she narrowly won by around 1,000 votes. After three years of denying the illegal contributions, attacking the commission and refusing to comply with a subpoena, the Bottoms campaign finally admitted to accepting $117,697 in illegal campaign donations, a fraction of the original amount alleged, according to reports.

In the agreement reached Wednesday, the Bottoms campaign admits to accepting $6,900 in campaign donations that exceeded state limits on the amount individuals can contribute. The campaign also acknowledges receiving another $110,797 in contributions that violated other state statutes, according to the AJC.

After the election, Bottoms also raised money to retire campaign debt. The amount raised exceeded the debt, and the campaign kept the balance, which is illegal.  The commission launched investigations in 2019 into the campaigns of both Bottoms and her competitor, Mary Norwood, relating to Atlanta’s December 2017 runoff election.

The commission originally alleged the Bottoms’ campaign accepted $382,773 in illegal contributions based on campaign finance disclosure reports.

The Georgia chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans were among groups to file official ethics complaints against the Bottoms campaign.

In a press release, Georgia Log Cabin chapter President Coleman E. Williamson said, “Log Cabin praises the penalty against Mayor Bottoms. The fine was large and significant, but punishment could and should have gone further. We are concerned that Mayor Bottoms’ campaign consultant Rick Thompson sits on the ethics commission and refused to recuse himself from this complaint. I believe that was to clear her for a cabinet position with the Biden administration that she so desperately craves. This is a clear conflict of interest that was not addressed.”

Former Log Cabin Republicans National Board Chairman Jamie Ensley added, “Atlanta voters have a right to demand that campaigns are free from illegal contributions. Log Cabin is disappointed that the ethics commission failed to fully audit the Bottoms campaign. Our elected officials should be held to higher standards than this.”

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