Stacey Abrams’ attorney told the new head of the state ethics commission Monday she’s got “nothing to hide” and plans to cooperate with his request for records after he said he planned to subpoena her campaign’s bank records.
The letter from Joyce Gist Lewis said Abrams was “surprised to learn through media coverage” that David Emadi, who started his job last week, planned to issue subpoenas for bank and finance records for Abrams and political action committees that backed her 2018 campaign.
“Assuming that you are willing to articulate the good faith reasons for the records sought, my client will offer its full cooperation without the need to resort to a subpoena,” wrote Lewis.
“Should any technical reporting errors be identified by your office, my client will promptly amend its reports, as is routine for campaign committees in the State of Georgia.”
The response came days after Emadi, a former Douglas County prosecutor, used his first press conference to announce he would pursue investigations against Abrams and possibly the campaigns of Atlanta mayoral candidates. He said nothing about any potential inquests into Republicans facing complaints.
The investigations into the Abrams and mayoral campaigns came out of audits of contribution and expenditure reports candidates and political groups have to file when they raise and spend money on campaigns.
The audits were part of an effort by the former commission leader, Stefan Ritter, to be more proactive in reviewing reports after years during which most complaints were filed following investigations by the media or opposing campaigns.
Emadi’s remarks were met with searing criticism from Abrams’ allies, who saw them as blatant partisanship from a new commission chair with ties to GOP figures. Her top aide, Lauren Groh-Wargo called it “insane political posturing” as Abrams considers a run for governor, Senate or the White House.
Lewis attempted to reach Emadi by telephone Monday morning, according to the letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In the letter, Lewis encouraged Emadi to pursue “good faith notifications” before issuing a threat of a subpoena.
“This is because a party often can and will produce documents and information voluntarily once informed of what is sought and for what purpose.”