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Stacey Abrams campaign under investigation by new Georgia ethics head

New appointee says complaints against Kemp are unfounded

ATLANTA — The new director of Georgia's ethics commission says he will continue an investigation into former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

The Georgia Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission investigates ethics complaints - frequently filed by watchdogs or unfriendly political operatives. Director David Emadi tells 11Alive news that "four or five" such complaints against Abrams are being actively investigated.

RELATED: Stacey Abrams weighs presidential decision, defends Biden

Emadi started on the job Monday. He replaced Stefan Ritter, who resigned amid allegations of workplace impropriety.

Emadi says his agency will subpoena bank and financial records from Abrams - and groups associated with her campaign, including political action committees and special interest groups.

UPDATE: Ethics complaints against Stacey Abrams, Brian Kemp detailed

Emadi says the commission investigated complains lodged against Republican Brian Kemp's campaign for governor, but found no sustainable allegations. 

RELATED: Georgia misses deadline to submit documents for federal investigation into elections system

Abrams' former campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo said in a statement that Emadi is a Republican operative doing "partisan" work into "baseless" allegations and "should be focused on real problems like the unethical ties between the governor’s office and voting machine lobbyists instead.” 

"It is shameful, but not surprising," the statement said. "This is Kemp’s corrupt playbook, his long history of launching frivolous investigations with bogus charges against political opponents. This is a shameful misuse of taxpayer dollars for a political vendetta."

Abrams' campaign vowed to fight the "false accusations with every available resource."

RELATED: Teacher raises, gang crackdowns among Kemp's promises in first State of the State address

Emadi pushes back saying his office looks into complaints irrespective of partisan ties.  

Emadi says the ethics commission also has active investigations ongoing into complaints made against "all" the candidates for Atlanta Mayor who ran in 2017, including Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

RELATED: Investigation launched into hiring of Mayor Bottoms' campaign staff

Emadi declined to describe details of any of the complaints against Abrams or the mayoral candidates.

His first ethics commission meeting is next week. 

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