Georgia Office of the Secretary of State

09/15/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/15/2021 08:30

Raffensperger Condemns 'Bought and Paid For' Stacey Abrams Lobbyist to Oversee Fulton Elections; Threatens Removal of Fulton Election Board

(Atlanta)-Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger condemns the blatantly political appointment of a lobbyist for Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight Action as chair of the county's elections board. Fulton County's Board of Commissioners has named Cathy Woolard, a registered lobbyist for Fair Fight Action who was paid more than $10,000 by the organization when hired in February 2021, to chair Fulton County's elections. Raffensperger is raising alarms about the conflict of interest Woolard presents and warns that he will seek removal of Fulton County's entire election board through the process set out by Georgia's new election law if Woolard is appointed as chair.

'Fulton County needs to think again before appointing someone who is bought and paid for by Stacey Abrams to run elections in Fulton County,' said Raffensperger. 'Appointing such a blatantly partisan and conflicted individual, who is literally on Stacey Abrams's payroll, will do incredible damage to the already terrible reputation Fulton has for running elections. If the Fulton County Commissioners go through with this partisan and irresponsible selection, I will seek the removal of Fulton's entire election board through SB202, Georgia's new election law.'

Fulton County is expected to appoint Cathy (Catheren M.) Woolard to serve as the chairperson of Fulton County's Board of Registration and Elections. The 5-member board oversees elections in Fulton County. Two of the members are chosen by the county Republican Party organization and two are chosen by the county Democratic Party organization. The 5th member, and tie-breaking vote, is the chair, who is appointed by the Board of Commissioners.

Catheren M. Woolard, the county's appointee as elections chair, is currently registered with Georgia's ethics commission as a lobbyist for Fair Fight Action Inc, Abrams' elections advocacy organization. According to Fair Fight's lobbying report, Woolard was paid in excess of $10,000 when she was hired on February 2, 2021 to lobby the Georgia government on 'social welfare' and 'voting rights.' Woolard's lobbying deal with Fair Fight Action is ongoing, according to the ethics website.

Before lobbying for Fair Fight, Woolard also was paid to advocate on behalf of numerous liberal and progressive causes in the Georgia statehouse, including Planned Parenthood of Georgia and Compassion & Choices, an organization that advocates for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.