Georgia Senate leader gives $1 million to help GOP candidates like him

Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth.

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Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth.

Georgia Senate President Pro-Tem David Shafer headed into 2017 as the top fundraiser in the General Assembly, despite the fact that he didn’t plan to run for re-election.

It was no secret at the statehouse that the Gwinnett Republican, second in charge of the Senate, planned to run for lieutenant governor in 2018.

On Monday, a Republican political action committee reported it had gotten $1.025 million in leftover campaign money from Shafer’s state Senate account.

Three months after Shafer gave the money to the fund, it contributed $10,500 to his lieutenant governor’s campaign.

Under Georgia law, candidates can't raise money for one office and then use it to run for another. So Shafer couldn't directly spend his leftover state Senate money in his lieutenant governor's race.

The Republican Leadership Fund PAC, headed by longtime party activist and statehouse lobbyist Don Bolia, can use what it raises to help support GOP candidates in next year’s election, including Shafer.

It has raised $8,000 so far this year from sources other than Shafer.

Bolia’s PAC has contributed about $27,000 to Republican candidates since it was formed in 2008, with most of its money coming from companies and individuals with an interest in statehouse politics and policy. About one-third of that money went to Shafer for his aborted lieutenant governor’s campaign in 2009.

Before Shafer’s Senate campaign contribution to the PAC, it had $188,000 in the bank. It now has $1.2 million.

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