The political arm of a voting rights group founded by Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Friday it would launch an investigation into whether consultants were improperly paid.
The announcement came on the heels of a Fox News report that described the payment of consulting fees by Fair Fight PAC to three individuals with personal ties to the group’s executive. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing.
In a statement, Fair Fight PAC said it became aware a day earlier that “PAC funds were improperly paid to consultants” and would immediately begin an investigation.
“Our first priority is to organize collective voter education efforts, and we will not lose sight of that during this internal investigation,” the group said. “Fair Fight values transparency and accountability, and will address any potential wrongdoing head-on.”
The disclosure comes on the heels of Abrams’ rematch with Republican Brian Kemp, whom Abrams defeated in a close 2018 race for governor that raised questions both during and after the campaign about the integrity of state voting laws and Kemp’s decision. as he runs for higher office to continue as his secretary of state. When Abrams admitted defeat after a brief court battle, he also announced the launch of Fair Fight.
Two years later, Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump by less than 12,000 votes statewide, and Bill Clinton became the first Democrat to win Georgia in nearly three decades in a presidential race. In January 2021, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated a pair of incumbent Republican senators to win control of the US Senate. Warnock is up for re-election in November.
Fair Fight PAC, founded in 2019, is the offshoot of Fair Fight Action, a non-profit organization that does advocacy work in Georgia. His PAC works with Democrats across the country and supports political candidates.
The Abrams campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the Fox News report, Fair Fight PAC paid more than $178,000 to three people. A CNN review of FEC filings for the 2019-20 and 2021-22 election cycles put the figure higher, totaling roughly $250,000.
“Abrams’ favorite slush fund has been caught red-handed funneling hundreds of thousands in paychecks to family and friends unrelated to the organization’s cause,” campaign press secretary Tate Mitchell Kemp said in a statement in response to the story. “This type of behavior is deeply troubling and makes it clear that voters cannot trust Stacey Abrams.”
The Fair Fight Action was the latest after the end of a long post-2018 court battle over Georgia’s election law. A federal court ruled in September against the group’s claims that many aspects of the state’s restrictive election administration laws violated voters’ constitutional rights.
Abrams, in a series of tweets after the decision, pointed to the wording of the court’s order as reaffirming his core argument (that Georgia’s law had an oppressive effect on voters of color) and said he planned to increase the momentum. If he was elected in November created by the publicity of the case.
“As governor, I will expand the right to vote. I will stand up for minority voters, not bemoan their power or be ‘frustrated’ by their success,” Abrams tweeted. “This case shows that the 2022 election will be a referendum on how our state treats its most marginalized voices.”