Georgia senators debate law changes following allegations against DA Willis

Fulton County officials were in the hot seat Friday answering questions about Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' hiring of former special prosecutor Nathan Wade.  

State senators had their third investigative session looking into potential conflicts of interest and allegations of misuse of funds.  

Some Georgia senators say they want to see the law changed as it relates to the spending of state constitutional officers like Willis. While the DA says she and her team followed the law.  

For about four hours, senators grilled Fulton County Commission Chairman Rob Pitts, Chief Financial Officer Sharon Whitmore, and County Attorney Soo Jo. They wanted to know how DA Fani Willis gets her budget approved and where all her funding comes from.  

The chairman says he does not approve of the current system which allows not only the DA, but county constitutional officers like the sheriff and the tax commissioner, to spend their budgets however they see fit.  

"After we appropriate money to them, I think we have an obligation, a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers, to know how that money is being spent," Pitts insisted.  


The chairman of the state Senate Special Committee on Investigations believes Willis should be more accountable to the commissioners for her $36.6-million budget. 

"Fulton County does not appreciate the way she has handled many things, including her relationship with Mr. Wade. Her failure to disclose gifts and benefits that she received from him, when she hired him, and approved his pay, and salary, and all the checks with no oversight," said Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, who's chairs the committee. 

Democrats on the committee believe changing state law that has been in place for 30 years goes too far.  

"Now, all of a sudden, because of one particular issue, we are going to change that for the whole state. Those who are listening across the state, I want all constitutional officers to realize, apparently, the Georgia state Senate is about to change the law because of one event in Fulton County," said Sen. Harold Jones II, D-Augusta. 

Earlier in the morning, DA Willis told FOX 5 she believes the convening of the Senate committee is curious. 

"The DA's office has done everything by the law. Funny that we need ‘big brother’ watching over us when DAs become Black," a defiant Willis said at a soul food restaurant across town.  

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes sat in on the hearing Friday. He will represent Willis if she is subpoenaed by the committee.