Fulton County Board of Ethics updates policies to include county-funded elected officials like DA Willis

 April 20, 2024

Georgia's Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis could soon be facing even more trouble that may result in her being disqualified from continuing her prosecution against former President Donald Trump.

The Fulton County Board of Ethics has reportedly adopted new policy changes that could lead to Willis being held accountable for new ethics complaints, according to Newsweek.

Willis has already faced an assortment of complaints and allegations of misconduct, not all of which are related to her criminal case against Trump.

Ethics board initially concluded it lacked jurisdiction over DA Willis

In March, The Hill reported that the Fulton County Board of Ethics was set to consider two separate ethics complaints filed against DA Willis but ultimately determined that it lacked the jurisdiction to do so.

One of those complaints alleged improper conduct and financial benefits against Willis in relation to her hiring of now-former Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade, with whom she'd been having an undisclosed romantic affair, while the second complaint alleged that Willis had engaged in a variety of multiple ethics code violations.

Yet, that reprieve for Willis in the dropping of those two ethics complaints was short-lived, as little more than a month later the ethics board has now voted to adopt two new policy changes that could allow it to pursue future complaints against the county prosecutor.

Ethics board changes its policies to include officials like Willis

Rough Draft Atlanta, a local media outlet, reported Friday that the Fulton County Board of Ethics voted earlier in the week to approve a pair of agenda items sponsored by Commissioner Bob Ellis that would update and strengthen the board's code of ethics and anti-nepotism policies.

Ellis brought those updates after the board concluded in March that its prior policies didn't apply to the district attorney and certain other county officials, and he told the outlet, "The ethics policy was extended to all types of elected officials in Fulton County that received Fulton County funds."

At issue was the definition of which elected officials and county employees fell under the board's jurisdiction, and the new policy now states: "This definition shall include any elected or appointed official whose department or agency is appropriated funds from the county."

It was noted by the outlet that the new policies have already gone into effect but are not retroactive -- meaning the board won't go back and consider the prior ethics complaints against DA Willis but will investigate and act upon any new complaints that may be received.

Willis facing additional potential problems

As problematic as that may prove to be for DA Willis, Newsweek reported that future ethics complaints aren't the only potential trouble the prosecutor now faces.

She faces serious allegations of her office misspending federal funds that are being scrutinized at the state and federal level, including by a congressional committee and the Justice Department.

The House Judiciary Committee has already announced last month that it is considering holding Willis in contempt of Congress over her lack of cooperation with its probe and her failure to fully comply with a lawful subpoena to turn over certain relevant documents and communications.

And earlier this month, the Washington Free Beacon, which reported earlier in the year of allegations raised by a former staffer turned whistleblower about the misallocation of federal grant funds, reported that a DOJ spokeswoman acknowledged that "inconsistencies" were found during a departmental review of a grant awarded to Willis' office.

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