Georgia special committee turns focus on Fani Willis’ spending

(The Center Square) — A Republican-led Senate Special Committee on Investigations focused on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ use of county tax dollars to investigate former President Donald Trump.

The work of the Senate Special Committee on Investigations, created with the passage of Senate Resolution 465, could rank among the most-watched state committees of the year, especially considering its potential impact on this November’s presidential election. The committee’s focus includes allegations that Willis had an affair with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor formerly on the case.

“I guess I would have to say that she, as have prior district attorneys, have asked for … trial expense resources without it being specific to X amount for a special prosecutor or X amount for expert witnesses,” Fulton County Chief Financial Officer Sharon Whitmore said during a committee hearing.

“I think that it’s been more like, we know we have these major prosecutorial matters that will be moving forward and will require … additional resources,” Whitmore added. “But I don’t recall there being any specific line-item details necessarily associated with that.”

A Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former state Republican Party Chair David Shafer, on charges they tried to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

In addition to the Trump “election interference” case, Willis’ office has been involved in other high-profile cases, including a RICO trial involving rapper Young Thug and alleged YSL street gang co-defendants and a case involving Claud “Tex” McIver, a prominent Atlanta attorney who shot and killed his wife in September 2016.

“We heard testimony at a previous meeting that there was a team of at least 10 assistant DAs working on an election interference case, and at least three special counsels that are being paid as independent contractors, including Mr. Wade,” Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, said during the hearing. “Was that ever described to the county commission in any of the funding requests?”

“I don’t recall that coming before the board,” Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts responded.

Fulton County leaders allocated $36.6 million from Fulton’s General Fund to Willis’ office.

During Friday’s hearing, county officials said they aren’t involved in the machinations of managing Willis’ office. Pitts said commissioners aren’t involved in details of who the district attorney might hire and at what rate and that hiring a special prosecutor is “solely the purview of the district attorney.”

“The Board of Commissioners has no oversight over the district attorney,” Whitmore told lawmakers.

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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