Fani Willis subject to local ethics board oversight: Fulton County Commissioners

by | Apr 23, 2024

The stage was set this week for ethics complaints to be addressed against District Attorney Fani Willis after County Commissioners clarified that elected officials receiving county funds are regarded as employees of the county.

In a 4–2 vote, with one abstention, on April 17, the commissioners appeared to pave the way for the Fulton County Ethics Board to consider complaints against Ms. Willis, whose office is partially funded by taxpayer dollars. Previously, the ethics board dismissed two complaints against Ms. Willis, citing her status as a state officer and asserting that the county lacked jurisdiction over her.

A complaint filed by Holly Kesler, Georgia state director for Citizens Defending Freedom, is still pending before the ethics board. Ms. Kesler, who addressed the commissioners on April 10, submitted a letter asserting the county's authority to oversee the expenditure of taxpayer money.

Two prior complaints, filed by Fulton County residents Steven Kramer and Gregory Mantell, were dismissed. They initiated independent investigations into the district attorney’s finances following allegations of misconduct becoming public.

Ms. Kesler argued that the district attorney's submission of ethics disclosure forms to the county ethics board demonstrated an acknowledgment of oversight. She pointed out that county ethics rules prohibit the county from entering into any contract involving services or property with an officer or employee, or with a person or business in which an officer or employee has an interest.

Ms. Kesler submitted an ethics complaint against Ms. Willis on March 26 regarding contracts with Mr. Wade but has not yet received a hearing date from the ethics board. At the April 17 commissioner meeting, County Attorney Soo Jo stated that the clarification would be applied “prospectively,” meaning it would take effect from the point of enactment forward.

Ms. Kesler’s complaint alleged that Ms. Willis knew or should have known that her conduct was unethical and unlawful, especially as an attorney prosecuting crimes involving public corruption.

Source: The Epoch Times



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