Controversial legislation that opponents say will inject more dark money into Georgia politics quietly became law last week.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that, without any public notification from his office, Gov. Brian Kemp last week gave his approval to a new law allowing state leaders to set up committees that could raise money during General Assembly sessions while lobbyists are trying to get legislation passed.
The legislation will create eight so-called “leadership committees” headed by the governor, lieutenant governor and their general election opponents – plus the majority and minority caucus leaders in the Georgia House and Senate. The committees would collect campaign donations ahead of statewide and legislative elections.
While those committees would have to disclose the names of donors, they would not be subject to the contribution limits that apply to individual candidates. Another issue is the committees will also be able to take contributions from nonprofits that don’t disclose their donors.
The new normal for politics also opens the door for political fundraising during General Assembly sessions, a practice that is until recently was prohibited by state law to discourage lobbyists from seeking to influence votes on pending legislation.
House Majority Whip Trey Kelley, R-Cedartown, carried Senate Bill 221 in the House, which passed it 96-69, with lawmakers voting along party lines.
The measure was sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga. Floyd County’s legislative delegation, all Republicans, supported it.