Smith fined $8,000 for campaign finance violations

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia lawmaker has agreed to pay an $8,000 fine for violating campaign finance laws some 93 times. The violations include a failure to report dozens of campaign contributions and how he spent them during his six-year tenure in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Rep. Earnest Smith lost a bid for re-election in the Democratic primary to newcomer Sheila Clark-Nelson. She takes office in January.

On Thursday, The Augusta Chronicle reports the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission unanimously approved a negotiated consent order detailing the violations and ordering Smith to pay the fine and provide copies of an audit and invoices showing what became of the unreported funds.

Smith, who has called the ethics charges a "witch hunt," said the commission decision cleared his name.

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Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , http://www.augustachronicle.com

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