Majette Seeks to Set Up Legal Fund
Rep. Denise Majette (D-Ga.) wants to establish a legal expense fund to help defray costs stemming from a lawsuit that arose out of her contentious primary last year against then-Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.).
In a recent letter to the Federal Election Commission, Majette said she has incurred “in excess of $90,000” in legal fees after she was named in a civil lawsuit brought against her by supporters of McKinney.
Majette’s name has since been dropped from the suit, but she is still incurring “modest legal fees related to monitoring the ongoing litigation,” Majette’s lawyer, G. Scott Rafshoon, explained in his letter to the FEC.
Majette, a former judge, defeated McKinney in Georgia’s 4th district primary in August 2002 with 58 percent of the vote.
Five of McKinney’s supporters are asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to remove Majette from office and hold a special primary and special election for her seat.
In their complaint, they contend that “crossover voting of the Republicans” in the Democratic primary “impermissibly diminished and interfered with the voting strength of African American voters in the District on account of race.”
Majette asked the FEC to agree that the funds raised and spent for defraying her litigation costs are not considered “contributions” or “expenditures” under the law.
The FEC has approved similar arrangements in the past. In 1996, the FEC allowed Michigan GOP House candidate Susan Heintz to establish a legal expense fund after opponents challenged whether she had sufficient nominating petitions to qualify for the GOP primary election ballot.
If she wins approval, Majette would be required by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to file quarterly statements listing her donations and disbursements.
She would be able to draw contributions — limited to $5,000 per year from any one source — for the legal expense fund from individuals, labor groups and corporations.