District 3 Commissioner Karen Bosch on Thursday mailed the complaint against Tea Party Patriots Inc. to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, the former state Ethics Commission.
The complaint comes just days after local Tea Party Patriots Chair Carolyn Cosby conducted a news conference and went to the local District Attorney with Bosch’s ex-husband alleging the commissioner accepted questionable campaign contributions in 2004 — charges Bosch adamantly denied.
In the complaint Bosch alleges local tea party organizations have been collecting money and using it to sway voters one way or another on local elections and on the upcoming sales tax referendum to fund regional transportation projects.
Her complaint lists Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin as the respondent, but when interviewed, Bosch said her beef is with the two local branches of the national movement: the Canton and Cherokee Tea Party Patriots.
Holly LaBerge, executive director of the ethics commission, said Thursday once her office receives the complaint, it will send out a notification to both the complainant and respondent notifying them of the ethics charge.
She then said the respondent has 30 days to respond to the allegations and once that’s complete, the investigation into the allegations can begin.
In her ethics charge, Bosch contends the organization is not registered with the state commission as a political action or independent committee.
Bosch also said in the complaint the organization has been selling merchandise and collecting dues.
“I think it’s only fair the public knows how they (the tea party) are getting their money and how they are spending their money,” she said.
Bosch, who said she’s been contemplating filing the complaint for some time, noted the local branch has endorsed candidates and is selling T-shirts and using money to campaign against the upcoming transportation referendum vote.
Cosby told the Tribune Bosch was mistaken in her allegations.
Cosby also said Bosch’s allegations against the tea party are false, as the commissioner has never attended any meetings or received any letters or emails from the tea party organization requesting money.
“Mrs. Bosch has chosen to leave the public stage and I would advise her to do so with grace,” Cosby said, referring to Bosch’s announcement on Wednesday that she won’t seek a third term on the commission. “The first thing she needs to do is get her facts straight.”
Conrad Quagliaroli, chair of the Cherokee Tea Party Patriots based in Woodstock, added he thought Bosch’s allegations are “funny.”
“She was sadly mistaken with me,” he said. “I have nothing to do with local issues and nothing to do with local candidates.”
Quagliaroli was also at the press conference Tuesday where allegations about campaign contributions to Bosch were leveled. The tea partier led the applause for Cosby’s statements.
The Canton Tea Party Patriots also on Tuesday announced they were nominating candidates to be considered as Tea Party Favorites.
In order for candidates to receive the distinction, they would have to sign a contract pledging they would reveal the identities of all their donors who gave $100 or less.
Also on Tuesday, both Canton and the Cherokee Tea Party Patriots joined forces with the Republican Women of Cherokee County to host a panel discussion on the upcoming TSPLOST.
According to state law, committees must register with the state if they are accepting, donating or expending contributions on behalf of candidates seeking elected office, efforts to recall public officials or campaigning for voters to approve or deny constitutional amendments, referendums or ballot questions in any county or municipality.
— Cherokee Tribune reporter Megan Thornton contributed to the article.