Political machines in American history have often been known for being nests for corruption. Political organizations like New York City’s Tammany Hall became a byword for mass political corruption. Stacey Abrams, the two-time failed Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia, created her own political machine called the New Georgia Project which describes itself as “a nonpartisan effort to register, civically engage, and build power with the New Georgia Majority.” As the Washington Free Beacon reported, however, there is a brewing scandal pertaining to an over $500,000 discrepancy in the voter organization’s tax filings that experts say are grounds for state and federal investigation.
The essence of the scandal is that the New Georgia Project filed IRS disclosures that reported a $533,846 consulting payment and a $67,500 grant to the Black Male Initiative, which is a criminal justice reform organization that is run by a former New Georgia Project employee. This employee happens to be the brother of Stacey Abram’s handpicked CEO for the New Georgia Project.
What is more noteworthy is that the Black Male Initiative claims to have never received any consulting payments from the New Georgia Project and has provided the Washington Free Beacon with its IRS disclosures. These disclosures do not show any consulting income. It only collected $225,000 in contributions from all sources in 2021.
One non-profit attorney, Alan Dye, told the Washington Free Beacon, “This is something that the Internal Revenue Service should be interested in particularly with the added element of the former officer possibly pocketing the money. Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.” He noted a separate issue over the organization’s 2020 disclosure that it paid no money in payroll taxes was ” just not possible. I can’t answer that question. There should be no excuse for that.”
The non-profit voter organization’s Action Fund also had similar discrepancies over its contributions to other organizations. It reported a $25,000 contribution to the Committee for a New Georgia with the latter organization receiving $36,000 on October 19, 2021, from the Action Fund.
As the Washington Free Beacon reports “Fenika Miller, who the Committee for a New Georgia lists as its chairman, told the Free Beacon that she has not been involved with the group since 2020. Miller had no answer for why the Committee for a New Georgia has identified her as its leader, which it did as recently as this January in a filing to the Georgia State Ethics Commission.”
Paul Kamenar, a counsel to an ethics watch group, opined that for this case “Not only are civil fines and penalties possible but so is criminal liability.”
This is not the first time that the organization has been accused of misconduct. The Georgian state ethics committee alleges that the group illegally worked to elect their founder, Stacey Abrams, in her 2018 gubernatorial campaign and illegally engaged in partisan activity by endorsing Democratic candidates.
The Washington Free Beacon‘s also revealed in the aftermath of that affair that “The New Georgia Project has also gone without a top accountant since chief financial officer Randall Frazier was fired in late June. A former executive with the group, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Frazier was terminated after warning the group’s leaders that they were engaged in potential financial impropriety and urging them to bring in a forensic accountant to right the ship.”
Allegations over New Georgia Project’s history, therefore, charge that far from being a non-profit charity organization that is interested in non-partisan voter rights, it is a partisan corrupt organization that is a barely veiled political machine for the Georgia Democratic party. The shadowy and corrupt political bossism that comes with such machines leads to what President Theodore Roosevelt called “an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.”