Debt issues plagued Stacey Abrams throughout campaign

Questions of debt have plagued both candidates for Governor during this campaign.

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Tuesday night, our FOX 5 I-team uncovered exclusive information about insider loan debt involving Brian Kemp's companies and a bank he helped start.

But, Stacey Abrams had her own problems. From the beginning of the governor's race, Stacey Abrams has faced questions and attacks about her finances.

Her financial disclosures show she owed more than $54,000 to the IRS, and she owed another $56,265 in credit card debt.

RELATED: Brian Kemp owes more than $800,000 in insider loans to bank he helped start

She didn’t want to sit down and discuss the debt with our Senior I-Team reporter Dale Russell, but earlier she told FOX 5 anchorman Russ Spencer the problem was student loans, and taking care of her sick parents and helping them financially as they raised a grandchild on their own..  

“I deferred my tax payments, I couldn't defer dad's cancer payments, never failed to meet every obligation I have,” said Abrams.

Sara Henderson, director of good government group, Common Cause, thinks a candidate running for Governor has a responsibility to pay taxes on time - just like everyday citizens.

“Certainly that she is making an effort to repay her taxes, and on a payment plan, I think that is important and good. But, hey, we all go through hard times, she is certainly not exempt from that. I don't think having a heartfelt story changes anything about her responsibilities,” says Henderson.

Poll: Kemp, Abrams neck and neck in Georgia governor's race

Abrams announced she is on a payment plan with the IRS to pay the debt down and slowly trying to erase her credit card debts, but it was still fodder for campaign attacks. Especially, when her campaign disclosure reports showed she loaned her own campaign $50,000 while still in debt to the IRS.

The FOX 5 I-Team found Brian Kemp and his companies borrowed more than two million dollars in insider loans from a bank he helped start and sits on the board of directors. 

These insider loans are legal, but highly regulated. Kemp's campaign team refused to discuss whether he got special privileges with those loans, which isn't permitted. Companies he co-owns owe his bank more than $800,000. 

We asked Stacey Abrams camp to see proof of her IRS payment plan. Her campaign shared it with us, but asked that we not show it on TV. The plan appears as she has described it, and she has made monthly payments of $1000 since early 2017.

Sara Henderson can’t help but wonder, “It absolutely should be a big deal to Georgia voters. They should be looking at this and saying - why do we have candidates running for highest office in the state, owing money, in court having debts hanging over their head. This is not what we should be expecting from our next Governor.”