Former Cobb representative fined $10k by state ethics commission

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Jan. 17—A former Cobb state representative has agreed to pay $10,000 in fines to the state ethics commission after it found she violated state campaign finance law.

Erica Thomas, a Democrat who represented state House District 39 in south Cobb, failed to file seven campaign contribution disclosure reports, according to investigators at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. She was also late in filing four contribution reports, and failed to file four personal financial disclosure statements. Candidates are required to file the latter to publicly disclose personal finances, secondary employment, and fiduciary positions.

The MDJ reported that the ethics commission opened an investigation into Thomas in 2020. The commission wrapped up the case at a meeting late last year. The commission and Thomas signed off on an agreement in which Thomas agreed to pay $10,000 in fines — a $8,125 civil penalty and $1,875 in late fees.

Commission staff told board members at the meeting that Thomas has now filed all the reports.

Thomas did not seek reelection in 2022. Democrat Terry Cummings won the November election to fill the seat.

When the investigation was first opened in 2020, Thomas told the MDJ the omissions were the fault of a backlog at a company she had hired to handle such paperwork, which she later replaced.

Reached for comment Tuesday, Thomas accused the MDJ of "harassing" her, and said the case was not newsworthy, since she is no longer an elected official.

"My comment is, I don't want this to be even a story," Thomas said. "And I think that you're wasting time, when you could be talking about a lot of great things that are happening in Cobb County. And I believe that you're wasting time on putting a story like this, and printing a story like this, and putting a story like this online. It's a waste of people's time. That's what I believe. If you want to print that in the paper, you can print that in the paper."