Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is in hot water once again.
New reports indicate Abrams’ voting rights group Fair Fight Action has funneled millions of dollars to a law firm led by the chairwoman for Abrams’s gubernatorial campaign.
According to The Washington Examiner, Fair Fight Action spent $9.4 million in 2019 and 2020 with Lawrence & Bundy, a boutique Atlanta law firm that counts Abrams’s campaign Chairwoman Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, a close friend of the candidate, as one of its two partners, according to the nonprofit group’s 2019 and 2020 IRS tax filings.
There are no definitive reports to show how much Lawrence-Hardy’s firm has received from Fair Fight Action in 2021 and 2022. The organization has been involved in a legal fight against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) for the past years. Fair Fight Action filed the lawsuit after Abrams lost her 2018 gubernatorial bid to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, whom she is currently running against, claiming the secretary of state engaged in voter suppression. In September, U.S. district judge Steve Jones ruled against Abrams and found no evidence of voter suppression.
“This is a win for all Georgia election officials who dedicate their lives to safe, secure and accessible elections,” Raffensperger said at the time. “Stolen election and voter suppression claims by Stacey Abrams were nothing but poll-tested rhetoric not supported by facts and evidence.”
“Judge Jones’ ruling exposes this legal effort for what it really is: a tool wielded by a politician hoping to wrongfully weaponize the legal system to further her own political goals,” Kemp said in a statement celebrating the ruling.
The $9.4 million that Lawrence & Bundy received accounts for over 37% of the roughly $25 million in legal fees that Fair Fight Action has racked up in the past two years, according to Politico, which first reported on the payments to Lawrence-Hardy’s law firm.
Fair Fight Action raised over $61 million in 2019 and 2020 after being founded in 2018. At least one-third of that money has gone toward the lawsuit against Raffensperger, while $20 million has been put in cash reserves, tax records show. While there are eight separate law firms that worked on the case against the secretary of state, Lawrence & Bundy has earned the most in fees.
Abrams and Lawrence-Hardy were classmates together at Georgia’s Spelman College, and Abrams graduated from Yale Law School three years after Lawrence-Hardy.
Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the left-wing think tank Public Citizen, says that Abrams’s years-long friendship with Lawrence-Hardy represents a clear conflict of interest.
Despite Abrams’s accusations of rampant voter suppression in the Peach State early voting data reports Georgians to have already broken records for early turnout. According to The Hill, Saturday’s turnout surpassed the 2020 election’s sixth day of early voting by 20 percent.
The 79,682 voters who cast ballots on Saturday also marked a 159 percent increase from the first Saturday of early voting in the 2018 midterm elections, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office.
Georgia also smashed early voting on the first day polls opened last week, when 131,318 ballots were cast in-person, far above the 70,849 reported in 2018 and close to the 136,739 mark in 2020.
“Early Voting is strong because Georgia’s voter registration system is strong,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a statement. “Every eligible Georgian who wants to be registered to vote is registered to vote.”
However, despite the record-breaking data Abrams is still claiming voter suppression is underway in Georgia.
“In 2018, we had record turnout,” Abrams said in a press conference Monday. “We had record turnout that shattered records for Democrats among communities of color and in that same election … we know that 85,000 Georgians were denied their right to vote due to voter suppression tactics that shut down their precincts. We know that 50,000 voters had their right to vote held hostage by the exact match process which was proven to be voter suppression tactics. We know that thousands of people stood in lines for hours because of voter suppression tactics.”