Most Interesting Uses of Campaign Funds by Georgia Lawmakers • Georgian Virtue

Georgia lawmakers recently submitted their campaign finance reports for the period beginning July 1, 2021 and ending January 31, 2022. While none crossed the abuse threshold, a few might raise an eyebrow or of them.

State Representative Debra Bazemore (Democrat – Riverdale, GA) paid $5,000 to the Georgia Leadership Committee in Washington, DC for “caucus dues,” at least five times the highest amount of “dues” paid by any other Democrat.

State Representative James Burchett (Republican – Waycross, GA) paid the Ware County Touchdown Club $2,100. It was eclipsed only by Rep. Ed Setzler of Marietta, who donated $1,500 to the North Cobb High School Boosters.

State Representative Beth Camp (Republican – Concord, GA) used $427.99 for a Yeti Cooler for a fundraiser raffle and $360 to buy a book to distribute to all House members.

State Representative John Corbett used his campaign funds to pay for his insurance on the contents of his condo during the legislative session

State Representative Matt Dubnik (Republican – Gainesville, GA) donated $1,000 to Ducks Unlimited in Tennessee.

State Representative Joseph Gullett used campaign funds to pay for overnight boarding for his dogs so he could attend another lawmaker’s fundraiser.

State Representative Susan Holmes used his campaign funds to pay an ethical fine ($125) for filing his campaign financial return late. A $299 expense for OnStar membership was also paid.

State Representative Trey Kelley of Cedartown (Polk County) pays for housing in Atlanta 12 months a year.

State Representative Dominic LaRiccia (Republican – Douglas, Georgia) [Report]

LaRiccia charged his campaign fund $3,779 for fuel over a 6-month period and $2,568.51 in Verizon Wireless charges.

But the biggest reason LaRiccia makes the list? He sent $35,150 in campaign funds to other politicians (most of which were made before the redistricting and before he announced he would not run):

  • $2,500 – Tyler Harper for Commissioner Georgia Ag
  • $5,100 – Harper for Georgia, Inc.
  • $2,800 – Rep. Clay Pirkle (Ashburn)
  • $2,500 – Representative John Corbett (Lake Park)
  • $2,500 representing Trey Rhodes (Greensboro)
  • $2,000 – Representative Jason Ridley (Chatsworth)
  • $1,500 – Representative Jodi Lott (Augusta)
  • $1,000 – Burchett for Home (Waycross)
  • $500 – Speaker David Ralston
  • $500 – Representative John LaHood (Valdosta)
  • $500 – Representative DeWayne Hill (Ringgold)
  • $500 – Brad for Georgia
  • $500 – Representative Don Parsons (Marietta)
  • $500 – Representative John Carson (Marietta)
  • $500 – Representative Shaw Blackmon (Bonaire)
  • $500 – Crowe for Georgia
  • $500 – Representative Matthew Gambill (Cartersville)
  • $500 – Representative Marcus Wiedower (Watkinsville)
  • $500 – Representative Alan Powell (Hartwell)
  • $500 – Representative Victor Anderson (Cornelia)
  • $500 – Representative Noel Williams (Cordele)
  • $500 – David Jenkins for State House (Grantville)
  • $500 – Representative Houston Gaines (Athens)
  • $500 – Friends of Russ Goodman
  • $500 – Representative Martin Momtahan (Dallas)
  • $500 – Representative David Jenkins (Grantville)
  • $500 – Representative Matt Dollar (Marietta)
  • $500 – Representative Chris Erwin
  • $500 – Friends of Pruitt
  • $250 – Meagan Hanson for US House (Brookhaven)
  • $1,000 – Georgia House Republican Trust

Senator John F. Kennedy was second only to LaRiccia in donations to other politicians with $29,000 shared over the past six months. Although the average donation to lawmakers is just over $1,500, Kennedy also donated $250 to the Peach County Sheriff’s Deputy Fund.

The two handed out more than the House Majority Leader, Jon Burnswho shelled out $22,000 to other politicians.

State Representative Jodi Lott (Republican – Augusta) paid a law firm $1,250 for “legal defense” in December 2021. Senator Matt Brass beat her, however, when he paid $2,500 in legal fees.

State Representative Mark Newton disbursed $6,172.84 for “event catering” at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, SC.

State Representative Trey Rhodes paid $198 for pest control services at his district office.

Senator Brian Strickland had no abnormal expenses, but his report was filed late and the stated reason was that he was “serving in the Georgia Senate.” The reports are due the same week of the month every year and all the other senators have managed to get theirs filed.

Senator Valencia Seay used their funds to donate to a GoFundMe Memorial account.