Greene files ethics complaint against Fani Willis

Greene files ethics complaint against Fani Willis
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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) filed an ethics complaint against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) on Tuesday, accusing the Georgia prosecutor of failing to disclose “luxury vacations” she took with Nathan Wade, a top prosecutor in former President Trump’s Georgia criminal case whom she acknowledged developing a “personal relationship” with.

The four-page ethics complaint, dated Tuesday and filed with the Georgia State Ethics Commission, alleges Willis violated the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act by not disclosing “suspicious relationships and transactions” she made in relation to Wade.

However, it’s not clear the commission has jurisdiction over the complaints Greene raises. While it does review failure to file disclosure reports — something the Georgia lawmaker alleges Willis is guilty of — it would likely be unable to address the substance of her complaint. The commission does not investigate “ethical or moral conduct of candidates, lobbyists, or public officers” and also does not review “misuse of state or local funds.”

The allegations in Greene’s complaint stem from a co-defendant of former President Trump, Mike Roman, filing motions seeking to disqualify Willis from the sprawling racketeering and election interference case. Roman alleged Willis and Wade traveled to “traditional vacation destinations” together, including the Caribbean and Napa Valley.

Greene, a close Trump ally, claimed that the roughly $700,000 Wade was paid for working on the Trump case make him an “authority of the state” — suggesting Willis should therefore have to disclose any spending between the two.

The law she cites, however, only requires public officials to disclose payments for “speaking engagements, participation in seminars, discussion panels, or other activities which directly relate to the official duties of the filer.”

Willis’s office declined to comment Thursday morning.

The pair responded to Roman’s accusations against them earlier this month — part of which Greene included in Tuesday’s complaint — saying their relationship began after Wade was hired and acknowledging that “financial responsibility for personal travel taken is divided roughly evenly between the two.”

But Greene suggested Willis somehow acted improperly by failing to demonstrate her contributions towards their expenses as a couple.

“On information and belief, Fani Willis received compensation for travel from her secret boyfriend and special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, to vacation on a luxury Caribbean cruise and a visit to Napa Valley,” the complaint reads. “These disclosures would have allowed the public to discover her inappropriate relationship with her secret boyfriend and special prosecutor Nathan Wade, which has illegally tainted her already spurious prosecution against former President Trump and 18 co-defendants.”

Willis’s office countered that argument in an earlier court filing.

“To be absolutely clear, the personal relationship between Special Prosecutor Wade and District Attorney Willis has never involved direct or indirect financial benefit to District Attorney Willis,” Fulton County prosecutors wrote in a filing.

Willis has also described the motion as “salacious” and “designed to obtain” media attention in court filings.

In a statement, Greene called Willis’s failure to disclose the trips “a scandal of epic proportions.”

“Fani Willis can’t be trusted to fulfill her duties impartially. Inappropriate, unethical, and potentially illegal behavior has plagued her investigation from the outset,” she wrote.

“Willis’ refusal to disclose her relationships and financial transactions demonstrates a blatant disregard for the law and ethical standards,” she added.

Greene’s complaint also accuses Willis of “collud[ing]” with White House counsel — pointing to meetings that stemmed from efforts to gather evidence for the case.

Tuesday’s complaint is not the first time Greene has gone after Willis as she leads the Georgia case against Trump. Last month, she filed a complaint requesting Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Attorney General Chris Carr (R) investigate Willis after Roman alleged she had an improper relationship with Wade. Greene dubbed it an “illegal conflict of interest.”

Willis, however, has fought efforts to remove her from the case, including recent efforts from Roman’s team to subpoena testimony from her and Wade.

“Georgia law—as well as authority from across the country—predictably frowns on a process that permits counsel for one litigant to compel the testimony of counsel and employees of the opposing party, and there is no justification to depart from that general principle here,” Fulton County prosecutors wrote in a Wednesday filing.

Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET

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