Ethics Commission fines former Douglas County DA David McDade

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The long-running campaign finance investigation of David McDade has come to end.

McDade, the former district attorney in Douglas County, agreed to pay an $8,000 fine for violating the state campaign finance act.

David McDade was the Republican district attorney in Douglas County for 24 years. He was a powerful and aggressive prosecutor.  But, Fox 5 I-Team senior reporter Dale Russell found problems with McDade’s campaign disclosures when McDade resigned in 2014.

Those problems lead to a formal complaint by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission in 2016. The three-year-old case was finally settled today by an ethics commission director who once worked for McDade. 

We asked newly appointed Ethics commission director, David Emadi, if it was tough to settle a case involving his former boss. 

“You know, you try to take the personal out of it and do your job, and I think we did a good job of that,” said Emadi.  

Six years ago, the FOX 5 I-Team told you how McDade used seized drug money to provide perks and high paying second jobs for his longtime office manager Tammie Agan; he also provided a paid internship for Agan’s daughter.  

Following our report, McDade asked the GBI to investigate to clear the air. That investigation lasted more than a year.

According to McDade's attorney, Drew Findling, the investigation ended when McDade signed a non-prosecution agreement with the state Attorney General. McDade agreed to retire and pay back $4,032.  In exchange, the attorney general would not prosecute him. 

Tammie Agan, his office manager, pled no contest to 7 misdemeanor theft charges.

But, an I-Team investigation found after McDade resigned he failed to file his final campaign disclosure reports, as required by law.

And, we found he held an October 2013 golf tournament fundraiser that was never reported to the commission.

I asked McDade at the time if the money was still in the campaign.

“You do whatever you want to do,” he told me.

Following our report, Mr. McDade filed two years’ worth of updated campaign disclosure reports that showed all the money he had raised was still in his campaign including $34,375 for that golf tournament.

In the consent order, McDade admitted that seven times he failed to file campaign disclosure reports or filed late, and that he paid more than $5,500 in campaign refunds to people whose names never appeared as campaign donors on his disclosure.

“The evidence was they were refunds he never reported to begin with. I can't speculate why he didn't,” says Emadi.

The commission found no evidence McDade used any of the campaign money for his personal needs. The long-running case is now officially closed.