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Ethics commission accuses Fulton DA of disclosure violations

April 16, 2020 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Ethics Commission has filed a complaint against an Atlanta-area district attorney and accused him of violating public disclosure laws, including by not listing his supplemental salary funded by a nonprofit.

Last week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV reported on discrepancies found between Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard’s personal financial disclosures and tax filings submitted to the IRS by a nonprofit Howard runs.

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The complaint said Howard committed several violations on five years of disclosure forms, the AJC reported.

According to IRS filings from 2015 to 2017, Howard received $140,000 of supplemental salary from People Partnering for Progress, a nonprofit founded in 2004 to reduce youth violence, Howard headed as CEO.

The complaint said Howard’s personal financial disclosure reports filed to the commission did not include the supplemental salary. The complaint said Howard didn’t tell the commission he held a fiduciary position with the nonprofit while serving as CEO from 2015 to 2019, nor did he tell the commission he had a secondary position with the nonprofit from 2015 to 2017.

Howard said he didn’t think he needed to disclose the salary nor his positions within the nonprofit because he believed the law applied to business entities. Howard also said city officials knew about the salary, since they approved it.

The complaint said Howard was also accused of not disclosing his fiduciary position at another nonprofit, The Academy of Progress Inc., where he also served as CEO from 2016 to 2019.

Attorney General spokeswoman Katie Byrd said the office was aware of the complaint and will review the findings.

Howard said he looks forward to telling his story at “the appropriate time and place.” Howard has been Fulton’s DA since 1997 and qualified for a seventh term in March.

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