Dr. Tarece Johnson accepted illegal contributions to her School Board campaign but was allowed to simply pay a $1,000 fine to sidestep a hearing that had been scheduled for early April.  The facts in the case were clear (see Tarece Johnson Ethics Investigation for details), so settling before the hearing technically allows her to avoid a conviction.

Reporter – “Dr. Johson, have you ever been convicted of an ethics violation?”
Johnson – “…Convicted?… Noooo….”

Johnson’s campaign took in more than $1,800 in illegal contributions before her Nov 3 election, as outlined in a complaint that was filed a week before the vote.  But because of the burdensome procedures of the state ethics board (now known as the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission) voters were unaware of the illegal activity until after they cast their votes.

To their credit, the Atlanta Journal mentioned the settlement in an online posting.

But the question remains in the minds of many voters – if Johnson can’t even run a simple campaign without breaking the law, how can she be trusted with a $2.35 billion school budget?