The email, sent from a Cobb County, Ga., sheriff’s employee to the district attorney’s office, sought volunteers for the sheriff’s annual Corn Boilin’ event to raise money for the Cobb County Youth Museum.
“This is a great opportunity to meet tons of folks and it is for a great cause!” it read.
The great cause was, in fact, Sheriff Neil Warren himself.
Emails, interviews and campaign finance records show Warren used the children’s charity to solicit volunteers and donations for a fundraiser that brought in thousands of dollars for his reelection effort, while neither he nor his campaign contributed anything directly to the nonprofit museum.
Over the summer, The AJC reported on extensive irregularities in the sheriff’s campaign finances, which were under investigation by the state ethics commission.
Since then, the commission has filed a formal complaint filed against Warren alleging he misspent nearly $20,000 in campaign funds. It also issued five subpoenas targeting the sheriff’s campaign and public office, including employee schedules for the month of July going back several years.
In December, the ethics commission rejected the sheriff’s bid to quash four out of five of those subpoenas. The campaign has dropped its objection to the fifth, which was to be decided in Cobb Superior Court, according to Emadi, the ethics director.