DeKalb DA James fined for financial disclosure violations

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James has paid $2,850 for failing to file a campaign fundraising report and other required finance disclosures on time.

James, who agreed to the penalty from the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, said he neglected to file the reports during years when he wasn't actively campaigning for office. He submitted amended reports last September.

“It was absolutely an oversight that was rectified immediately,” James said Tuesday. “I was in no way hiding any money that I was raising. A very cursory review of my disclosures will reveal I wasn’t raising any money.”

The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission approved the fines against James on March 24, according to a consent order.

James didn’t file annual personal financial disclosure statements five times since 2011, and he didn’t file four annual affidavits stating that he didn’t take official action as a member of the Georgia’s Judicial Nominating Commission that affected his private financial or business interests.

James also missed an Oct. 25, 2012, campaign contribution disclosure report. When he later filed the report, it showed he collected no donations at that time.

The complaint against James came from Beatrice Williams, an acquaintance of suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis who believed James shouldn't have prosecuted him. A jury found Ellis guilty of attempted extortion and perjury last year.

“I had to say something,” Williams told Channel 2 Action News. “It sends a message to voters and a message to him.”