Fulton official continued questionable campaign spending

As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today, former Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards has agreed to settle civil charges that he violated several campaign finance laws. But the details of the settlement won’t be released until June – after Edwards faces incumbent Emma Darnell in the May 24 primary election for County Commission District 6.

Among other things, the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission has accused Edwards of misspending nearly $14,000 in campaign funds at The Commerce Club in Atlanta. According to a state investigation (you can read a copy here), the spending appeared to be for personal – not campaign – purposes.

Edwards has continued to spend campaign money at The Commerce Club, even after the Campaign Finance Commission questioned the expenses, a recent campaign report shows.

According to a report Edwards filed in January, he spent about $1,370 at The Commerce Club on Oct. 21, 2015. That’s three months after the state commission notified Edwards it was investigating him for several possible violations of campaign finance law, including the money spent on membership dues and expenses at The Commerce Club.

Robert Lane, an attorney for the Campaign Finance Commission, said the new spending could result in another investigation. But he credited Edwards for turning over extensive documentation of his spending in the current investigation, which he said “speaks well of him and his intentions.”

The campaign report also shows Edwards has paid attorney George Lawson – who is representing him in the current investigation - $10,000 to date.

The state investigation was prompted by a report on Edwards’ campaign finances by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Georgia News Lab and Channel 2 Action News. You can read our original investigation here.

You can read more about the proposed settlement of the charges against Edwards here.

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