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Georgia Ethics Chief to Subpoena Stacey Abrams’ Gubernatorial Campaign

Democrat Stacey Abrams
Carlos Osorio/AP
JOSHUA CAPLAN

Georgia’s newly minted director of the state ethics commission said Thursday his agency will subpoena the bank records of failed Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and groups that assisted her with raising campaign funds.

David Emadi, a former Douglas County prosecutor who started Monday as head of the ethics commission, announced plans to look into the Abrams campaign during a press conference on general agency business with reporters.

He did not provide specifics on what kind of possible wrongdoing officials are looking into.

 “What I can say about the investigation into the Abrams campaign is, in the relatively near future, I expect we will be issuing subpoenas for bank and finance records of both Miss Abrams and various PACs and special-interest groups that were affiliated with her campaign,” said Emadi.

Lauren Groh-Wargo, who served as Abrams campaign manager, said of the imminent inquiry in a statement: “The Abrams campaign worked diligently to ensure compliance throughout the election and, had we been notified of any irregularities, would have immediately taken action to rectify them.”

Groh-Wargo continued: “The new ethics chief ― a Kemp donor and former Republican Party leader ― is using his power to threaten and lob baseless partisan accusations at the former Abrams campaign when they should be focused on real problems like the unethical ties between the governor’s office and voting machine lobbyists instead.”

Abrams, who is out with a new book Lead from the Outside, has said she refuses to concede her gubernatorial bid to Gov. Brian Kemp (R) because it would validate that “the process is proper.”

Abrams and her allies have accused Kemp of suppressing African-American and Democrat voters to win what was one of the 2018 midterm election’s most high-profile races. She recently launched Fair Fight Action, a group aimed at combatting voter suppression. In a federal lawsuit against Georgia officials, the group accused the state of grossly mismanaging its election system.

Emadi’s announcement comes as Abrams is plotting out her political future, which may include running for the U.S. Senate or a White House bid. The 45-year-old is also mulling another gubernatorial campaign in 2022.

In a recent interview with Politico, Abrams said the crowded field of Democrats seeking the presidency offers her an “opportunity” to possibly launch a bid of her own in early fall. “Because of the crowded field, that has actually created a bit of an opportunity to do more investigation,” she said. “My responsibility is to analyze it, decide if that’s the job for me and how I can win… I believe based on my understanding of the contours of how to run a presidential race, September is actually an appropriate date.”

Abrams has also been floated as former Vice President Joe Biden’s number two when the 76-year-old launches a White House bid of his own. Appearing on MSNBC’S Morning Joe earlier this month, the progressive darling swatted away such reports, saying she does not believe in running for “second place.”

“I do not believe you run for second place, and I do not intend to enter a presidential race as a primary candidate for vice president,” stated Abrams. “If I enter the race for president, I will enter the race for president.”

“[O]nce we have a nominee, I am open to having conversations should I not be someone who’s running, I am open to conversations with anyone,” she added.

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