Campaign finance lawsuit filed in race for State House in Rome |

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Another local candidate vying for a seat in the Georgia General Assembly faces a complaint related to campaign finances.

The state Ethics Commission was already reviewing a complaint against state Senate District 52 candidate Jeff Lewis. He claims he has failed since 2012 to file required reports for his state House committee, which still has $75,000.

Now Luke Martin, who is running for the House District 13 seat, faces a complaint that is a bit of the opposite.

In his latest filing, covering the period from February 1 to April 30, Martin declared $7,931 in cash after receiving donations totaling $11,223.

That amount includes at least $6,000 that was transferred from his 52 Senate District state campaign when he registered his 13 House District campaign on March 25. Martin launched a Senate bid in August 2021, but instead qualified on March 10 to run for the House seat. He also used $400 from his Senate campaign to pay for his qualifying fees.

Whether this is a legal use of the money awaits a decision from the state ethics commission.

Georgia law limits what a candidate can do with leftover campaign funds to, essentially, return the contributions or donate them to a charity or some other political committee.

Martin’s list says he donated his Senate funds to his House campaign as an “authorized transfer” between committees of the same candidate.

However, during a heated exchange at the Floyd County GOP Women’s Luncheon last week, member Diane Lewis pointed out a restriction that committees must be for the same office.

“Watch the adjudication process and watch this get rejected,” Martin replied.

Lewis, who served in the State House from 1992 to 2008, did not transfer any of that money to his state Senate campaign. She is accused of having ceased to report her existence to the agency responsible for monitoring her.

Complaints against Lewis and Martin could be dismissed administratively if the staff members reviewing them reveal no errors. Otherwise, they will be brought before the Ethics Commission – the Georgian Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission – for a hearing.

The agency met on March 16 and does not yet have a date for its next scheduled meeting.

Writer Olivia Morley contributed to this report.

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