Jason Hopkins, DCNF
Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee in Georgia’s gubernatorial election, is refusing to disclose the origin of millions of dollars donated to two foundations that helped propel her political career.
Former Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader Stacey Abrams is remaining mum on who funded two tax exempt non-profit organizations. Voter Access Institute and Third Sector Development, both created and led by the Democrat, received a total of $12.5 million in donations from 2013 to 2016. The purpose of Voter Access Institute was to locate “low-propensity” voters and persuade them to go to the polls. Third Sector Development organized a voter-registration initiative that targeted people of color.
The two foundations paid Abrams nearly half a million dollars over the course of three years and introduced the former state representative to a national fundraising network. However, the gubernatorial nominee has refused to publish the names of donors involved in her non-profit work.
In response to media inquiry, the campaign wouldn’t explain the reasoning behind withholding the names, but instead took a swipe at Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, her Republican opponent in the election.
“I’m proud of New Georgia Project’s efforts to register, advocate for, and mobilize hundreds of thousands of Georgians and successfully combat voter suppression being perpetrated by Secretary of State Brian Kemp,” read a campaign statement from Abrams, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The non-profits accomplished little in reaching their implicit goals, despite the large amount of money involved. The Georgia Democratic Party only received 3 percent more votes in the 2014 gubernatorial election than in 2010. Black voter turnout actually declined by more than two percentage points.
Despite the lackluster performance, the two organizations helped Abrams obtain an extensive network of progressive donors before her long-planned run for governor. A former Democratic candidate, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the groups’ work “100 percent, no doubt” set the foundation for her run for statewide office.
Federal law does not require Abrams to publicly identify donors to tax-exempt non-profits. However, many similar organizations choose to disclose their donor list.
Abrams has taken criticism on the campaign trail for her struggles with massive personal debt. The Democratic nominee has accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt on credit cards, student loans and IRS back taxes. She has attributed much of her debt to a misunderstanding during college of how credit cards worked.
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