AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Gov. Deal cleans out campaign fund, still paying fundraiser

Gov. Nathan Deal's campaign fund is down to its last $32,000.

Deal, who won re-election in November and can't legally seek a third term, reported raising $6,500 last month and spending $89,000. About half of that went to the fundraising company owned by his daughter-in-law, Denise Deal, and another $30,000 went to bonuses for staffers who helped him beat Democrat Jason Carter in November.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month that Denise Deal's companies had been paid more than $1.5 million by the governor's re-election campaign for fundraising. The Sassafrass Group, her company, received another $44,212 commission on Jan. 31.

The governor's staffers said he plans to pay off his campaign expenses and close his re-election account, probably by June 30.

However, at least some of those affiliated with the campaign, including Denise Deal, will likely move over to new fund-raising political action committee or other fund to help the governor push his agenda the next four years. Among other things, his staff said they will raise money to help supporters in the General Assembly.

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About the Author

James Salzer has covered state government and politics in Georgia since 1990.