Georgia’s chamber of commerce interests have donated $4,250 to Georgia State Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) since 2018, shortly before she took office.
As reported this week, Georgia State Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) said she suspected members of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber are working behind the scenes to kill Byrd’s Voter ID legislation. She said Rich is working to block Byrd’s legislation in a Special Committee on Election Integrity subcommittee.
The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission’s website lists Rich’s donors.
The Georgia Chamber’s Political Affairs Council, for instance, donated $3,500 to Rich’s campaign efforts since 2018.
According to its website, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce has a Governmental Affairs Council with 400 government affairs professionals representing various companies throughout the state. The Georgia Chamber’s Political Affairs Council, meanwhile, “provides an opportunity for Chamber investors and partners to play an active role in shaping the future of our state,” its website said.
The Political Action Committee for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, has donated $750 to Rich since 2019, according to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission’s website.
Rich has not returned The Georgia Star News’ repeated requests for comment this week. Members of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber also have not returned requests for comment.
According to Ballotpedia, Rich assumed office in 2019 to represent District 97. She won reelection in 2020.
As reported Friday, two former state legislators said Georgia Chamber of Commerce members, not unexpectedly, have tremendous influence at the State Capitol. Those two former legislators also said the Chambers’ members sometimes work against political conservatives’ best interests.
Former State Rep. Jeff Jones, who represented District 167 from 2015 until last month, said this week that “the Georgia Chamber of Commerce is not the friend of the average Georgia citizen.”
“They don’t sponsor legislation. They don’t undertake initiatives that benefit anybody other than the large corporate members. You can look at the corporate membership structure and figure that out,” Jones said.
“The influencers of the Georgia Chamber are the large corporate entities in this state. Anybody else that is a member of the Georgia Chamber pays their dues, but the Georgia Chamber is responsive to large corporate entities in this state.”
Byrd, meanwhile, said she believes that Georgia Chamber members dislike her Voter ID legislation because it would try to stop non-citizens from voting. She went on to say that “they think it will stop Green Card people from coming into our state to work.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background Photo “Georgia Capitol” by Autiger. CC BY-SA 2.0.