Campaign finance complaint filed in Rome state House race |

Another local candidate running for a Georgia General Assembly seat is facing a complaint connected with campaign finances.

The state ethics commission was already looking into a complaint against state Senate District 52 candidate Jeff Lewis. It contends he has failed since 2012 to file required reports for his state House committee, which still has $75,000.

Now, Luke Martin, who’s running for the House District 13 seat, is facing a complaint that’s somewhat the reverse.

In his latest filing, covering the period between Feb. 1 and April 30, Martin reported $7,931 cash on hand after taking in donations totaling $11,223.

That amount includes at least $6,000 that was transfered from his state Senate District 52 campaign when he registered his House District 13 campaign on March 25. Martin launched a Senate bid in August 2021 but instead qualified on March 10 to run for the House seat. He also used $400 from his Senate campaign to pay his qualifying fee.

The question of if that’s a legal use of the money is awaiting a ruling from the state ethics commission.

Georgia law limits what a candidate can do with leftover campaign funds to, essentially, returning the contributions or donating them to a charity or other political committee.

Martin’s listing indicates he donated his Senate funds to his House campaign as an “allowable transfer” between committees of the same candidate.

However, in a heated exchange at the Floyd County GOP Women’s luncheon last week, member Diane Lewis pointed to a restriction saying the committees must be for the same office.

“Watch the adjudication process and watch this be dismissed,” Martin responded.

Lewis, who served in the state House from 1992 to 2008, has not transferred any of that money to his state Senate campaign. The complaint against him is that he stopped reporting its existence to the agency tasked with monitoring it.

The complaints against Lewis and Martin could be dismissed administratively if staffers reviewing them turn up no errors. Otherwise, they’ll be brought to the ethics commission — the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission — for a hearing.

The agency met last on March 16 and does not have a date for its next meeting scheduled yet.

Staff writer Olivia Morley contributed to this report.

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