Atlanta City Councilwoman Carla Smith said Friday that she has returned a $2,600 contribution to her re-election campaign from a controversial ballot committee fund tied to Mayor Kasim Reed.
As the AJC reported Thursday, a committee called Citizens For Better Transportation 2016 raised more than $1.2 million from some of the city’s most influential businesses to campaign on behalf of a sales tax increase for road improvements in Atlanta last year.
But the committee only spent half of the money, and began using the left over contributions this summer — sending maximum campaign donations of $2,600 to seven incumbent council members who are up for reelection, and who have been among Reed’s biggest supporters. Smith was one of the recipients.
She said the AJC’s story “raised important questions” about the appropriateness of the contributions.
“To ensure full compliance with our campaign disclosure laws (laws which I wholeheartedly support), I am returning the money to Citizens for Better Transportation 2016,” she said in a text to the AJC.
State law clearly says excess funds from a ballot committee should be either returned pro rata to the donors, or given to a charity. Robert Highsmith, the committee’s attorney, said the donations were legal, but an official with the state ethics commission said they might not be.