Atlanta mayor returns $413,000 in campaign refunds

Keisha Lance Bottoms’ donors include CEOs, politicians, celebrities



When Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ended her reelection bid in May, she boasted about a significant war chest.

“I’ve raised the money. I had the most successful fundraiser of any mayor in the history of this city with President Joe Biden,” Bottoms said. Her campaign previously announced in March that she raised more than half a million dollars with Biden’s support.

In Bottoms’ most recent financial disclosures, she reported raising nearly $612,000 from January to May of this year. She reported a total of $3.8 million in funding dating back to her 2017 campaign.

She returned most of this year’s money to donors last month.

Many of this year’s 532 donors gave more than $1,000 and the money came from businesses and individuals both here in Georgia and from across the country, records show. Among those listed is Bottoms’ friend and Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer, who donated the maximum contribution limit of $4,300.

Several other notable donors to Bottoms’ campaign include Four Tops singer Abdul “Duke” Fakir, who donated $1,000. Records also show that NBA legend Magic Johnson was the recipient of a $1,200 contribution refund, but his original donation amount is not listed in the 215-page report. Some Google and Coca-Cola company officials also donated.

Tyler Perry also donated $4,300 to Bottoms’ campaign, records show, and Texas businessman Hasmit Popat also donated $4,300.

Bottoms also received $4,300 from the Atlanta Restaurant Partners company. Jackmont Hospitality CEO Dan Halpern, a prominent Democratic fundraiser and ARP’s CEO, donated $2,800.

The Live Nation entertainment company and its president Peter Conlon donated separately, amounting to a total of $11,400. The campaign in April returned $1,300 to Conlon as a “refund of excess contribution due to limits.”

Among Bottoms’ campaign donations, 238 of them were refunded, records show. Bottoms reported the refunds among more than $413,000 in expenditures, leaving her with a balance of $258,963.

The campaign also reported several other miscellaneous expenses. Bottoms paid nearly $74,000 in fees for campaign financing and consulting, and nearly $17,000 in legal fees. ActBlue, the online fundraising platform credited for steering billions of dollars into Democratic campaigns last year, charged the Bottoms campaign nearly $20,000 in fees.

Bottoms also paid for software subscriptions and licensing, credit card contribution processing fees, advertising, website hosting, video conferencing fees, bank fees, campaign supplies, and nearly $200 for “bereavement flowers.”

Several candidates are running to replace Bottoms as mayor. So far, the candidates with the most money raised are Councilmen Antonio Brown and Andre Dickens, Denton’s attorney Sharon Gay, Council President Felicia Moore, and former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Bottoms previously told the AJC that she will announce her endorsement after the Aug. 20 qualifying deadline. The next campaign financial disclosures are due Sept. 30.

Other donors to Bottoms’ campaign:

  • Former Atlanta City Councilman and Congressman Kwanza Hall: $2,500
  • Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington Jr.: $2,000
  • Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper: $1,400