Atlanta Councilwoman Sticks City with Tab for Campaign Parties

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Apparently no one’s told certain City of Atlanta City Council members that money’s tight these days. Council member Cleta Winslow just paid an ethics fine on $5,420 for campaign flyers that were distributed door-to-door just several days before last year’s election- and she billed back to the city. But that’s not all.

City council members are given a $28,000 per year in discretionary spending dollars and Winslow used those funds to finance a number of city-sponsored events right before the election in quasi-campaign activities, at least according to Ginny Looney, a city ethics officer. Looney considered filing additional charges for $29,000 in suspicious expenses, but felt that it would be too difficult to make the charges stick.

Among the party costs reimbursed by the city: $4,200 for catering two events in September 2009, $1,780 to invite constituents to a “meet and greet” dinner, $5,700 for food, music and equipment for  a community party, and $4,995 for a barbeque at a public arts dedication.

“I’m not ashamed to say I spoil my folks,” Councilwoman Winslow said. “I spoil them with food.” At least if the city-paid event is a front for a campaign rally, said residents who claim that Winslow’s campaign workers completely hijacked the events.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution

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