Thursday, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard and former Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood each paid fines due to ethics violations. Howard was forced to pay $6,500 in fines stemming from a failure to disclose his role as CEO of two non-profits, one of which landed $195,000 in city grant money. Norwood was forced to pay $27,000 after she admitted to accepting $80,750 in improper campaign contributions, according to a consent order unanimously approved Thursday by the Georgia ethics commission.
“There could be a far bigger issue which is he was sitting in a public role as a DA and also taking on compensation from an outside source. Again, that’s outside of our jurisdiction, but I think that will be looked into,” Ethics Commission Chairman Jake Evans told WSB-TV.
In a statement, Howard says he believed the disclosure form only required the listing of a nonprofit when the work of the nonprofit was different or inconsistent with the role of the District Attorney.
“Not listing the nonprofit and my position was at no time done to hide any transaction as the form was completed in the exact same manner 10 years prior to the supplement paid by the City of Atlanta,” said Howard in a statement. “Shortly after the Complaint was filed, I instructed my Counsel to amend the forms to include whatever information the Commission thought necessary. My hope was this would be completed prior to the District Attorney’s election, so Fulton County Citizens could be clear about this matter. Thank God this has happened.”
Meanwhile, the Georgia ethics commission alleged that Norwood, who lost to current Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in 2017, accepted $168,975 in improper contributions because they exceeded the maximum amounts allowable by state law. The commission has launched investigations into both campaigns.
Norwood paid the fine and said the violations were “minor bookkeeping errors.”
According to the findings inside the order, the commission concluded $58,300 of the improper contributions were due to an accounting error and the other $22,450 in violations were due to contributions from individuals who gave above the maximum limits allowed by law.
Norwood’s campaign raised roughly $2 million.
“Any and all other allegations raised against Respondent by Complainant are deemed to be un-actionable or unfounded or otherwise permissible,” according to the order.