Former city of Atlanta chief purchasing officer Adam Smith, left, leaves the federal courthouse in September after pleading guilty in the long-running City Hall bribery investigation. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Bribery scandal stokes Atlanta mayor’s race

The federal bribery investigation of Atlanta City Hall is disrupting the race to succeed Mayor Kasim Reed.

Ethics and reform of government had taken a back seat to other issues, such as affordable housing and transportation. But since the end of September, when the feds netted their first conviction of a high-ranking city official, a number of the candidates have used the long-running investigation as a weapon to bash opponents.

Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood talks during a candidate forum in The Trolley Barn, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, in Atlanta. The federal bribery investigation of Atlanta City Hall has been thrust back into the spotlight in the mayor’s race. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“For a long time, the race has been really dull,” Emory University political science professor Michael Leo Owens said. “We can point to very few big differences among the candidates. Now here is this thing that’s incredible. Corruption always draws our attention. But a few weeks out from a mayoral election — only a fool would not be mining this issue for votes.”

On the subscriber website,, reporters look at how the bribery scandal and corruption at City Hall is looming over the mayoral race.

Related coverage 

Key figure in Atlanta bribery probe pleads guilty

Guilty plea, FBI raid of vendor roil debate over Atlanta contracting

Atlanta mayoral candidate to return donation from embattled contractor

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