The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission issued a compliance order this week to Conrad Quagliaroli of the Cherokee Tea Party Patriots stating that based on testimony it heard in the case, “no evidence” existed that his group had violated campaigning laws, according to a copy of the order provided by Quagliaroli.
Former county Commissioner Karen Bosch filed a complaint with the ethics commission in June 2012 alleging that Quagliaroli’s group had been collecting money and using it to sway voters in an upcoming TSPLOST vote, although the group wasn’t registered with the state for such campaigning purposes.
Bosch complained that a flyer Quagliaroli had passed out, which asked the reader to vote “no” on the upcoming TSPLOST, made his group in violation of state ethics laws.
The flier stated the mission statement of the Cherokee Tea Party Patriots, the ethics commission’s order states.
But the ethics commission found after a hearing April 24, in which Quagliaroli testified, that since “he used his own funds and distributed the fliers ... without connection with the Cherokee Tea Party Patriots,” no law was broken, according to the document.
In the order, the commission went on to say that in the future, should Quagliaroli distribute any more similar fliers that they should not “appear on their face that they are in fact an expenditure or an in-kind expenditure for the Cherokee Tea Party Patriots” or he will be in violation.
Quagliaroli said Friday that the commission’s ruling was “a victory for ordinary citizens and a defeat for sleazy left-wing tactics.”
“This is a victory,” he went on, “because the commission found that a citizen acting as an individual, spending their own money, is merely exercising their First Amendment right and not violating any ethics laws.”
A similar complaint, also made by Bosch against the Canton Tea Party and Canton Tea Party Chair Carolyn Cosby was sent by the ethics commission to the state Attorney General’s Office for review.