Washington State is threatening to refer Stacey Abrams's New Georgia Project for prosecution unless it clarifies what became of its $18.5 million bankroll in 2021. But even that isn’t motivating the embattled charity to open its books.
On Tuesday, Washington’s secretary of state ordered the New Georgia Project to "immediately cease" all fundraising activities until it renews its charitable solicitation license in the state. To do so, New Georgia Project would have to disclose top-line financial information from its 2021 Form 990, which was due to the IRS in November. New Georgia Project strategic communications manager Simran Jadavji brushed off the delay, telling the Washington Free Beacon that the charity's staff, "including our accountant, are just now returning to work after a much-deserved break for the holidays."
That excuse likely won't fly with the secretary, who closed out the charity’s registration in the state and threatened to report it to the state’s attorney general and impose fines of up to $2,000 per violation if it continues to solicit funds in Washington. As of this writing, the New Georgia Project is raising funds nationwide through the online fundraising platform ActBlue.
New Georgia Project’s missing IRS financial disclosure would help clarify how the charity went from controlling $18.5 million in assets at the end of 2020 to having to dismiss half its leadership team in October 2022 because of a lack of funds. The voter registration group, which was founded by Abrams in 2013 and once helmed by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.), fired its top financial officer in June after the official said he couldn’t do his job without violating the law, a former executive of the charity told the Free Beacon.
Washington isn’t the only state threatening legal action against the New Georgia Project. The group’s charitable solicitation license is expired, closed, delinquent, or noncompliant in at least 16 states as of Thursday. New Georgia Project’s ongoing solicitation of charitable funds in those states could open the charity up to fines and criminal inquiries, the Free Beacon reported.
Paul Kamenar, an attorney with the National Legal and Policy Center, said an independent audit of New Georgia Project’s books is warranted to determine if the charity engaged in any financial impropriety.
"It's astounding that despite failing to be currently registered as a charity in numerous states, and specifically barred by some from soliciting funds from the public, the New Georgia Project appears to continue to flout the law, subjecting the group to civil fines and penalties," Kamenar said.
The New Georgia Project was once touted as the "poster child" of Abrams’s efforts to boost Democrats in the state by expanding its non-white electorate. But the group failed to fulfill its mandate. Democrats, including Abrams, suffered blistering losses in statewide contests across Georgia in the November midterm elections.
Abrams has a record of squandering massive fundraising hauls. The Democrat raised $100 million for her 2022 gubernatorial campaign but now can’t afford to pay employees and owes over $1 million to vendors. Abrams’s campaign exhausted its war chest on frivolities such as rent for a $12,500-per-month "hype house" in Atlanta to film TikTok videos, and a "swag truck" to distribute Abrams paraphernalia to young voters.
Published under: ActBlue , Feature , Georgia , IRS , Stacey Abrams