Abrams fights 'broad' subpoena in GA ethics investigation

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ATLANTA (AP) — The nationally watched race for Georgia governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, the winner, was decided months ago. But proxy battles emanating from it still rage on.

Abrams' campaign on Friday delivered more than 3,600 pages of bank records to the state ethics commission in response to a far-reaching subpoena looking to turn up campaign violations.

But a lawyer representing Abrams' campaign is pushing back on releasing communications with outside individuals and groups, and Abrams' former campaign manager slammed the investigation as "political revenge" by Republicans.

The subpoena was one of several targeting liberal groups connected to Abrams. Issued by David Emadi, the new head of Georgia's ethics commission, it asked for banking records from Abrams' campaign as well as communications between the campaign and several outside groups working to drive voter registration and turnout.

Emadi is a former county prosecutor who was active in the local Republican Party and had donated $600 to Kemp's campaign for governor.

Joyce Gist Lewis, a lawyer representing Abrams' campaign, said in a letter accompanying the records that the subpoena was too wide-reaching and that the commission had not shared any of the facts that support the need for an investigation.

"On this record, there is little choice but to conclude that the Commission does not actually have facts supporting probable cause for its investigation, and it is utilizing an overly broad Subpoena in the hopes that it may discover some," Lewis said.

Some Abrams allies see the investigation as politically motivated.

Former Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo linked Kemp to the investigation in a tweet Friday. Groh-Wargo said Kemp is "Deploying cronies to ... exact political revenge," in reference to Emadi.

Kemp spokesman Cody Hall declined to comment.

Emadi said in an email Friday that he couldn't comment on the open investigation but disputed accusations that it was politically motivated.

"The Commission is an independent, nonpartisan agency and partisanship plays no role in our investigations. Claims to the contrary are false," Emadi said.

Emadi also said that "every candidate from the 2018 gubernatorial campaign is under active audit and investigation as is policy."

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