In mid April, gubernatorial democratic candidate Stacy Abrams met with the AJC editorial board. In that meeting she was asked about her debt and any possible effect it would have on her run for governor.

Georgia 2018: Abrams faces ethics complaint over book promotion

A watchdog advocate asked state officials Thursday to investigate whether Democrat Stacey Abrams used campaign contributions for her race for governor to promote the sale of her latest book.

William Perry of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs filed a complaint accusing Abrams of illegally leveraging her campaign’s staff and resources to promote the book, “Minority Leader.” 

His complaint cited social media posts from Abrams and her staffers plugging the book, as well as links touting it from her campaign web site. It urged investigators to look into whether she used campaign funds for a book tour that launched in March. 

“It is not illegal for a candidate to publish a book while running for office,” said Perry. “However, it is illegal for the candidate to utilize campaign contributions and resources to promote and sell the candidate’s book – and that is precisely what Abrams has done.” 

The Abrams’ campaign said the book’s publisher is paying for the tour and that her staffers’ social media posts promoting the book don’t violate ethics laws.

Spokeswoman Priyanka Mantha called the complaint “petty and false” and claimed Perry was an ally of former state Rep. Stacey Evans, her rival in the May 22 contest. 

“Stacey Evans and her allies appear to be following the old and Trumpian playbook: File complaint after complaint to sow confusion,” said Mantha. “Georgia voters know better – these tactics won’t work.”

Perry, who once led the Georgia chapter of Common Cause, scoffed at the notion that he is working with Evans and said he is also exploring her disclosure reports as well. 

Abrams, a former House Democratic leader, reported receiving a $150,000 advance for the book on her personal financial disclosure. 

Perry filed a separate accusation last week questioning about $84,000 in reimbursements that Abrams took from her campaign committees between 2006 and 2017 that lack details. Abrams said she’d disclose any “discrepancy” and that the money was spent rebuilding the House Democratic caucus. 

Read the complaint here.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.