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Rep. Buddy Carter faces ethics complaint

POSTED: May 5, 2017 4:29 p.m.
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Congressman Buddy Carter

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The chairwoman of the Bryan County Democratic Committee — who is considering running against Republican Congressman Buddy Carter — filed an ethics complaint against him Thursday.

Lisa Ring filed the complaint with the Federal Election Commission and the FBI’s public corruption unit regarding a state senate campaign account that Carter kept active after he announced he was seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ring told the Bryan County News Friday she is considering running against Carter in 2018.

“This is all a matter of public record,” Ring said. “Since I’m considering running for office myself, it’s important to know the activities of our public officials. I’m only in the research stage right now, but I’m seriously considering it.”

Carter dismissed the complaint in a short statement emailed by his press secretary Friday, saying “This appears to be a partisan political stunt from a local Democratic activist. Look no further than the media receiving this before the ink is even dried on the signature.”

The Atlanta Journal Constitution first reported on the complaint Thursday.

At issue is campaign contributions between Carter and state legislators. For example, state Sen. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, gave Carter’s federal campaign account $2,600 in the summer of 2013, according to the AJC. Carter’s state campaign account later gave $1,000 to Stephens’ re-election effort. Stephens’ district includes Bryan County.

The complaint also points to some $26,000 spent by Carter’s state campaign account after he announced he was running for Congress.

“Rep. Carter’s apparent conduit contribution scheme undermines the anti-corruption objectives” of federal campaign law, Ring wrote in her complaint.

Ring said it was time consuming going back and forth between various state and federal campaign finance reports.

“It can be confusing, but there seems to be a pattern,” she said. “There’s a lack of accountability.”

Carter, the former mayor of Pooler, represents Georgia’s First Congressional District, which includes Bryan County. He served two terms in the state house from 2006 to 2010, and one term in the state senate from 2010 to 2014. He was elected to Congress in 2014 and re-elected in 2016.

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