Allegations of voter fraud and forgery have hit the political scene in Georgia and could shake up more than just the state government. WSB-TV reported this week that six counties in the state have complained to the Secretary of State about fraudulent voter registration applications coming from New Georgia Project, whose parent company Third Sector Development is run by current Georgia House minority leader Stacey Abrams. Subpoenas have gone out for an investigation, but the impact could have national implications — as Abrams has been both a donor and a proposed policy adviser to Michelle Nunn, running for US Senate:
WSB didn’t mention the connection between TSD and Nunn, but Republicans didn’t let it pass quietly. The Hill’s Alexandra Jaffe put the connection together:
A group helmed by a major donor and policy adviser to Democratic Senate candidate Michele Nunn is under investigation by the Georgia secretary of State for alleged voter fraud. …
Republicans are seizing on the allegations against the New Georgia Project to tarnish Nunn, suggesting the group was part of a larger effort by Democrats to “expand the electorate by any means necessary.” …
Third Sector Development is run by Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D), who has contributed to Nunn’s campaign and was listed on an official campaign strategy document as a proposed member of a group of potential policy advisers.
The David Perdue campaign says this is reminiscent of ACORN:
“The fact that an organization led by a well-known Nunn supporter would attempt to illegally register voters is unacceptable and reminiscent of the Obama-political machine’s ACORN scandal. There is nothing more fundamental to our democratic process than maintaining the integrity of our elections and any attempt to tamper with them is deplorable.”
The issue here would be more that Abrams got listed as an adviser more than her status as a donor. According to FEC records, Abrams has contributed $500 to Nunn in this cycle (almost exactly a year ago), which is significant but doesn’t exactly make her a “major donor.” Perhaps there are more contributions that Nunn has not yet disclosed, but FEC records are complete through the end of June. Neither TSD nor New Georgia Project have contributed to the campaign, again at least as of the end of June.
Abrams’ value to Nunn was spelled out pretty clearly in the campaign memos from 2013 that was left exposed for Eliana Johnson to find. The “policy plan” explicitly put Abrams on Nunn’s “kitchen cabinet,” and that Nunn would consult with her on weekly basis to formulate policy:
The policy director convenes a “kitchen cabinet” of individuals including Senator Nunn, Norman Underwood, Stacey Abrams, Andrea Young, Andrew Feiler, Charles Campbell, David Edwards, Gordon Giffin, Valeria MacPhail, and Rocky Rief on a weekly basis to provide the campaign with guidance on a variety of policy topics. The agenda is set by the policy director on Friday and participants are provided with relevant background materials. The call is then summarized for the larger campaign leadership and the candidate.
Abrams also got prominent mention in a discussion about “Raisers and Affinity Groups” that dealt with fundraising among specific target demographics. “One of the secret weapons of this campaign,” the memo instructed, “will be a strong Raiser Program.” The strategy was to find “social sector folks and friends of Michelle” to hold five-figure fundraisers around the country, especially those in “affinity groups” with connections to Nunn. ” In many of these groups, we have existing “anchors” who can help raise money from these constituencies,” the memo notes, and includes Abrams in their list of “potential anchors.”
It may well turn out that Abrams will be a potential anchor, but not in the manner Nunn envisioned.