GOP Labor Commissioner nominee Bruce Thompson faces campaign finance lawsuit

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A Buford, Georgia woman has filed a campaign finance lawsuit accusing Republican Commissioner of Labor nominee Bruce Thompson of violating Georgia’s campaign finance laws.

The FOX 5 I-Team investigated the allegations and found that Thompson spent about $35,000 from his former Senate campaign on his current run for labor commissioner.

Jeri Tyler has two loves: housing and feeding her current horses and reminiscing about the old horse races that she followed, the political horse races.

“I had a newspaper and I did a lot of politics,” Tyler said.

Tyler was the heart and soul of the Hog Mountain Herald until 1996.

Journalist: “You were editor, publisher and owner?”

Tyler: “Yeah.”

Journalist: So, at heart, are you a journalist?

Tyler: “Yeah.”

The former journalist is now getting back into the political game that she loves so much.

Tyler filed a campaign finance lawsuit against a statewide candidate for Georgia Labor Commissioner, Bruce Thompson.

“I hope voters get a chance to see what kind of person he is,” Tyler said.

Thompson has served as a Republican state senator from White, Georgia, since 2013. But when Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced he was retiring, Thompson decided to run for his seat.

The I-Team first reported on then-state senator Thompson during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March 2020, Senator Thompson posted a photo on Facebook, telling people he had been rushed to an intensive care unit with respiratory failure.

He said he had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Thompson promised, on Facebook, March 22, to “stay at home in self-quarantine for the immediate future.”

Next, Thompson drove to his beach house on St. George’s Island, off the coast of Florida. Thompson told People on Facebook that he was in good health.

“The audacity of a man who had this disease a few days ago and walked into a virus-free community is irresponsible. I’m just beyond words,” Franklin County Sheriff, AJ, said. Smith.

An outraged Florida sheriff, AJ Smith, said he would post a deputy outside Thompson’s beach house to keep him inside and protect the local community.

Thompson decided to go home and never responded to FOX 5 I-Team’s questions about the incident.

Now, Thompson is facing criticism over how he’s paying for his run for Georgia’s labor commissioner. Files that are easily found on the campaign financing site.

“If you know where to look, it shows up immediately. Anyone can find it. Not just me. Anyone who wants to take the time and put in the effort can,” Tyler said.

Jeri Tyler’s complaint alleges that Thompson illegally used her state Senate campaign donations for her run for commissioner of labor.

The law seems pretty clear. A candidate can only use the contributions for “the elected office for which these contributions were received”

In other words, Thompson can’t take the money people gave him for his Senate campaign and use it to run for commissioner of labor.

“It seems clear that the law says one thing and does another,” said Dr Adrienne Jones.

Jones is assistant professor of political science at Morehouse College. FOX 5 asked him to review the complaint. She said it appears Thompson is breaking the law. She still worries about the huge sums of money needed to run campaigns in the modern political world.

“For an office like the commissioner of labor, or any elected office, what people are looking for is someone who’s going to uphold the law. If it’s a violation of the rules, it’s a violation. , which means he doesn’t know the law or is consciously unaware of it,” Jones said.

When the I-Team reviewed Thompson’s campaign disclosures, it appears he spent some $35,000 from his Senate account to pay three different people to work on his run for labor commissioner.

“The purpose of the labor commissioner is to make sure Georgians are employed, so you don’t want someone who’s not honest with money, who’s not honest in their own business,” he said. said Jones.

Thompson would not do an interview but sent FOX 5 a statement calling the complaint a “baseless last-minute attack by a desperate adversary who ran the most ethically challenged and beleaguered agency to the scandals in Georgia”.

When the I-Team responded by bluntly asking why he used Senate campaign funds to pay people working on his labor commissioner run, he referred her to his attorney.

Jeri Tyler has a “Mike Coan for Labor Commissioner” sign in her front yard. He was deputy labor commissioner under Mark Butler and took time off to run for the job.

She said she filed a complaint because people in high places should obey the law.

Reporter: “Did you record this for him. Did you record this on his behalf?”

Tyler: “Not really. Not really. I’m doing this because I’m ready to keep our government clean.”

FOX 5 never heard from Thompson’s attorney. Republican candidate Mike Coan wrote to FOX 5 to say he is calling on Bruce Thompson to return the contributions he used from his Senate account to their rightful donors and take responsibility for his misuse of campaign funds.

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