Atlanta council’s Winslow returns ballot fund cash tied to Kasim Reed

Atlanta City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow vowed this week to return a $2,600 contribution to her re-election campaign from a controversial ballot committee fund tied to Mayor Kasim Reed.

As the AJC previously reported, a committee called Citizens For Better Transportation 2016 raised more than $1.2 million from some of the city's most influential businesses to campaign on behalf of a sales tax increase for road improvements in Atlanta last year.

But the committee only spent half of the money, and began using the left over contributions this summer — sending maximum campaign donations of $2,600 to seven incumbent council members who are up for reelection, and who have been among Reed’s biggest supporters.

Winslow was among the recipients, along with Natalyn Archibong, Michael Julian Bond, C.T. Martin, Joyce Sheperd, Carla Smith and Ivory Young. All seven have now promised to either give the money back, or donate it to charity.

State law clearly says excess funds from a ballot committee should be either returned pro rata to the donors, or given to a charity. Robert Highsmith, the committee’s attorney, said the donations were legal, but an official with the state ethics commission said they might not be.