Fulton County official accused of spending campaign money on personal items

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - The State Ethics Commission has recommended the Georgia Attorney General take action against a sitting Fulton County Commissioner for mismanagement of campaign funds.

The State Ethics Commission concluded District 6 Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman likely spent campaign money on personal items during two of her previous campaigns.

When asked about her spending habits 18 months ago, Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman told the Ethics Commission she is not a good bookkeeper and not good at math.

"We are stewards of taxpayer dollars," Abdur-Rahman said at a commission meeting earlier this year.

However, the state Ethics Commission says the District 6 commissioner mixed campaign money with personal money during her 2019 and 2020 elections, a practice that is against Georgia law.

"Ultimately, these are campaign contributions from donors. It's not their money. It's not these candidates' money. It's money that has strings on it. So, we are making sure it's being used correctly," Deputy Director of the State Ethics Commission Joe Cusack explained.

The State Ethics commission says Commissioner Abdur-Rahman initially filed no campaign disclosure forms, which raised a red flag for them.

"We knew that expenditures had been made," Cusack said. "We saw social media post where signs had been purchased by her campaign. We knew money had been spent, and all of a sudden we go look at these reports and there is nothing disclosed."

The Deputy Director said Abdur Rahman's late disclosure forms revealed personal expenses like $114 spent at Dollar Tree, $478 to Title Max and $240 to Georgia Power.

"We noticed payments that were made from our campaign account – TitleMax, to a chiropractor, just a lawn guide – it was just all these personal expenses,  which you can't do with campaign funds," Cusack said.

In total, the deputy director estimates somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000 was mismanaged.

"I'm a poor record keeper," Abdur Rahman replied.

<div>Fulton County District 6 Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman</div>
Fulton County District 6 Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman

The District 6 Commissioner appeared before The State Ethics board on Dec. 8, 2022 to discuss the discrepancies.

"There was no malfeasance or attempt to do anything illegal or hide anything," the commissioner explained during that meeting.

"From the date of that hearing, we've yet to have any further discussion with her about this case," Cusack said.

The Deputy Director says, at this point, there are no criminal implications, but a hefty civil fine is unavoidable.

"We have had monetary penalties anywhere from $12,000 to $30,000 that have been imposed on these candidates for this failure to disclose expenditures and failure to disclose contributions," Cusack explained.

The commissioner's chief of staff tells FOX 5 they consider this a non-issue for voters, calling it a "campaign ploy" just weeks before the democratic primary.

They believe no action is required by the commissioner.

The election is May 21. Early voting has already started.