A taxpayer watchdog group has accused former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed of accepting $38,700 in illegal contributions for his latest mayoral campaign.
Georgia Ethics Watchdogs founder William Perry filed the complaint with the Georgia Ethics Commission on Tuesday. It accuses Reed’s campaign of violating state law by accepting donations from at least four sets of affiliated companies in amounts exceeding the $4,300 contribution limit.
The companies in question include two strip clubs and two firms involved in real estate. Perry submitted a spread sheet documenting the contributions with his complaint.
Reed spokeswoman Anne Torres said Wednesday that any donations made in violation of state law will be returned.
Torres also questioned Perry’s creditability, calling him “a widely discredited campaign ethics expert.”
Perry lost his job at Common Cause Georgia, and Torres said he now “spends his time filing ethics complaints which assist the political candidates he supports and are generally found to be meritless.” She said if Perry “truly believed in transparency, he would disclose his organization’s donors as well.”
Perry fired back, saying “a hit dog will holler, and Kasim hollers every time he gets caught doing something unethical or illegal.”
“Calling him out for his wrongdoing may ‘discredit’ me in his mind, but I doubt anyone else will agree with him. Besides, I’m not the one facing federal indictment for wire fraud,” Perry said.
Reed’s mayoral administration has been subject to a years-long federal corruption investigation, and he is under a federal grand jury investigation for alleged wire fraud for personal purchases made with campaign funds between 2011 and 2017. Reed has repeatedly said he is innocent.
Perry’s latest complaint comes after he filed an ethics complaint against Reed in June, alleging violations of campaign finance disclosure laws and saying the former mayor failed to file two year-end reports while maintaining $166,000 in his campaign account after leaving office in 2018.
After the 2017 mayoral election, the State Ethics Commission alleged that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and runner-up Mary Norwood also accepted thousands of dollars in improper contributions. Bottoms and Norwood paid fines for the violations as a result.
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Credit: Henri Hollis / Henri.Hollis@ajc.com