Former senator Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.) called on authorities to fast-track an investigation into Stacey Abrams’s voter registration group following a Washington Free Beacon report on the group’s alleged financial impropriety.
Loeffler on Monday called on the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Commission to probe Abrams's New Georgia Project, which raised $25 million in 2020 to boost non-white Democratic turnout in the state. The Free Beacon reported that the group's top financial officer was fired in June after informing colleagues he couldn’t do his job without violating the law, and that the group needed to bring in a forensic accountant to right its ship. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.), who will appear with Abrams on the ballot Tuesday, served as the group’s chairman from 2017 through early 2020.
Because of the New Georgia Project's involvement in the two high-profile elections, Loeffler said it is incumbent upon Georgia authorities to investigate the group immediately "to protect the integrity of our elections for every Georgia voter."
"Georgia’s elections are determined at the margin," Loeffler told the Free Beacon. "The illegal influence they could be generating here needs to be investigated."
An investigation could pose problems for Abrams and Warnock, both of whom are tied to groups plagued by scandal in the weeks leading up to Election Day. The Georgia state ethics commission determined in August that the New Georgia Project likely violated state law by failing to report $3 million in spending in support of Abrams’s failed 2018 gubernatorial campaign. The Georgia secretary of state’s Securities and Charities Division launched an investigation into a charity controlled by Warnock’s church in October following a Free Beacon report that the church owns a low-income apartment building through the charity that moved to evict disadvantaged residents during the pandemic.
Fair Fight Action and Fair Fight PAC, two other groups founded by Abrams after her 2018 loss, also came under fire in October for doling out lucrative payments to Abrams’s close associates.
"Stacey Abrams has raised tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, on the back of false claims of voter suppression, and yet has been proven to be someone that cannot be trusted with money," Loeffler said. While Abrams is no longer formally affiliated with the New Georgia Project, its current chairman, Francys Johnson, is a regular at Abrams campaign events.
Loeffler sent her investigative demand on behalf of Greater Georgia Action, a conservative voter registration group she founded after losing to Warnock in the January 2021 runoff election. Loeffler said she founded the group to fight back against the Abrams political machine in the state, and the group says it has registered nearly two million Georgians to vote since its founding. In contrast, Abrams’s New Georgia Project claims to have registered just 500,000 voters.
The Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Commission confirmed it was aware of the allegations against the New Georgia Project but said its hands were tied until after the conclusion of the 2022 election.
"State law prohibits the Commission from beginning an investigation based on a complaint made within 30 days of an election in which the subject of the complaint is a participant or candidate in said election," said David Emadi, the executive director of the commission. "Once the 2022 election ends, we will closely consider concerns raised by Greater Georgia, as we do with all complaints filed with our agency, and we will take whatever appropriate steps we deem necessary at the time."
The New Georgia Project has suffered a major brain drain in the leadup to Election Day. The group has had no top accountant since firing its financial officer Randall Frazier in late June and has dismissed its top legal, operational, and communications officers within the past two months."We understand the importance of election integrity. The hypocrisy that we see of someone claiming to be about voting rights, and then apparently subverting the law around elections, needs to be investigated," Loeffler said. "And when you have an official of an organization requesting to review the actions that the organization has taken, and they fire that individual instead of investigating, that’s a major red flag."
The New Georgia Project did not return a request for comment.
Published under: Georgia Senate , Kelly Loeffler , Raphael Warnock , Stacey Abrams , Voting Integrity