Updated at 10:56 a.m.
Democrat Stacey Abrams’ 2018 campaign for Georgia governor says a state ethics commission demand for their communications is overbroad and would have implications for every future political campaign if granted.
Abrams’ campaign filed their response Wednesday to a lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court by the commission earlier this month. The lawsuit is part an investigation accusing the Abrams campaign of “unlawful coordination” with an outside organization.
Abrams narrowly lost last year’s gubernatorial race to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
The commission said Abrams’ campaign hasn’t complied with subpoenas issued last spring seeking communications between the campaign and several outside groups, including some focused on voter registration and turnout. The lawsuit asks a judge to force Abrams’ campaign to turn over those communications to the commission.
But the campaign firmly denies any unlawful coordination took place and says they have already complied with the subpoenas, turning over thousands of financial records. They say the demand for those communications are out of scope and unprecedented. The campaign is asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
The filing by Abrams’ campaign says the court “is being asked to find that the Commission has the power to turn upside down every single campaign for public office in the State of Georgia, and to shake out and pull into the public record every document, email, and utterance unrelated to campaign finance, without regard to the subject matter of the communication.” The campaign says that no law supports an approach like that.
Abrams’ allies have also accused the commission of political bias.
The head of the ethics commission, David Emadi, is a former county prosecutor who was active in the local Republican Party and had donated to Kemp’s campaign for governor.
Emadi has previously defended the investigation and said: “The Commission is an independent, nonpartisan agency and partisanship plays no role in our investigations. Claims to the contrary are false.”