Twice-failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has faced yet another setback in her bid to prove that the state’s electoral system is somehow rigged against her.
This week, a federal judge ordered her organization, Fair Fight Action, to repay more than $200,000 in fees that stemmed from her 2018 lawsuit alleging voter suppression by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
The nonprofit group, which Abrams launched shortly after losing the 2018 race, made bold claims that her rival used his political power to implement election laws that disenfranchised minority voters. Several months ago, however, a judge dismissed those claims after finding no compelling evidence to support the theory.
In fact, last year’s midterm elections saw a record number of early ballots cast even as Abrams lost her second consecutive campaign against Kemp.
Election Denier and two-time loser Stacey Abrams: "I will likely run again." pic.twitter.com/YvpvXhkQBL
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 9, 2023
As a result of the earlier court defeat, a judge this week determined that Fair Fight Action owed nearly $193,000 in transcription fees and almost $39,000 in copying costs associated with the lawsuit.
For his part, GOP Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffenberger celebrated the decision as even more proof that the “voter suppression claims were false,” adding: “It has never been easier to vote and harder to cheat in the state of Georgia.”
Although he saw the court decision as “a start,” he shared his opinion that Abrams and her group should also be required to “pay back the millions of taxpayer dollars the state was forced to spend to disprove her false claims.”
With more than $25 million spent on legal fees during 2019 and 2020 alone, Fair Fight Action’s financial reports have received significant scrutiny. About $9.4 million reportedly went to a firm operated by Abrams’ friend and two-time campaign chairwoman Allegra Lawrence-Hardy.
Washington University in St. Louis legal ethics professor Kathleen Clark weighed in on the matter, asserting: “Fair Fight Action ought to explain why this lawsuit cost so much. I think there are significant questions about this choice of firm and just why this lawsuit was so much more expensive.”
A costly and ethically ambiguous lawsuit was not the only sore point for Abrams’ critics.
Reports surfaced last month that showed the Democrat’s 2022 campaign was $1 million in debt despite having raised in excess of $100 million during the election cycle.