District Attorney Again Misses Campaign Finance Filing Deadline

The top prosecutor of crimes in the four county region has failed to comply with state laws on campaign finances.

District Attorney Daphne Totten, who serves Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins, and Screven counties, failed to file her campaign finance disclosures by the June 30th deadline, marking the seventh straight campaign finance deadline she has missed since taking office in January 2021. Totten also missed the window of the five day grace period to avoid a penalty, which ended July 8 – three days later than usual due to the weekend and 4th of July holiday.

According to the campaign finance website, Totten’s most recent filing was her April 30th report, which was filed on May 10 after TheGeorgiaVirtue reported that she had missed six financial disclosure deadlines. When Totten filed that disclosure, she listed “experienced difficulty in accessing account and had to request assistance in resetting password and login credentials.” TheGeorgiaVirtue filed an Open Records Request with the Campaign Finance Commission inquiring about the portal issues and staff replied that the commission has no record of her asking for assistance for a password reset.

Campaign finance disclosures are an integral part of the elections process as they provide line item details of campaign contributions and expenditures for political candidates and public officials. The documents are both transparency and accountability centric, with the goal of giving voters peace of mind that races are not being influenced by dark money and special interests or that money is not misappropriated.

Totten was ousted by Statesboro attorney Robert Busbee in the May 21st primary election, though her term will continue through December 31, 2025. But even candidates who lose their bids for office are required to comply with the law. Totten’s previous noncompliance landed her with an ethics complaint filed against her with the Georgia Campaign Finance Commission, which is still pending.

Noncompliance with state statutes subjects candidates and public officials to action by the Campaign Finance Commission, which can include assessment of civil penalties and administrative costs, orders to take remedial action, and when necessary, reporting of suspected violations of law to the appropriate law enforcement authority.

Just recently, State Representative Carl Gilliard of Savannah was fined by the state commission in the amount of $17,000 for not filing his campaign finance reports, among other things.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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