‘Kind of like the Wild West’: Fulton County officials testified about Fani Willis’ spending

Embattled Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is facing calls for more oversight regarding how she spends taxpayer funds.

Several Fulton County government workers testified during a Georgia Senate hearing Friday that Willis can pretty much spend however much of the office’s money as she wants and in whatever way she wants.

State Sen. Bill Cowsert, one of the Republican senators present for the hearing, was not pleased hearing this.

“This is sounding to me kind of like the Wild West — very little control from Fulton County over a $36 million budget,” he said, according to Fox News. “You don’t know how much of that is spent on professional services, who is hired, how much they’re paid per hour, what their total compensation is.”

“Yet you’re being asked to provide $36.6 million a year that you know encompasses a number of those types of independent contractors that you know you’re funding with no oversight or control, right?” he added.

One of the witnesses, Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts, testified that Willis doesn’t even need pre-approval for anything, including hiring an independent special counsel.

“And [the district attorney] doesn’t have to even report back to you how the money was spent or who was hired as an independent contractor and how much they were paid?” Cowsert asked Pitts at one point.

“That’s correct,” Pitts replied.

Again, Cowsert wasn’t pleased.

“We don’t know what she’s spends it for, because she doesn’t have to answer to (commissioners),” he later told reporters.

Pitts appeared to agree, judging by what he himself later told reporters.

“After we appropriate money to them, I think we have an obligation, a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpaying citizens of the county, to know how that money’s being spent,” he said after the hearing, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Willis has for her part pushed back on the criticisms by predictably playing the race card, as usual. As a reminder, she’s a rabid Democrat.

“Isn’t it interesting, when we’ve got a bunch of African American DAs, now we need daddy to tell us what to do,” she told reporters. “They can look all they want. The DA’s office has done everything according to the books. We are following the law.”

Meanwhile, state Sen. Harold Jones accused Republicans of holding the hearing only because they sought revenge for Willis’ unprecedented lawfare against former President Donald Trump.

“If Chairman Pitts had come in here without all that fanfare and said that he wanted that law changed and started talking about changing how sheriffs do business in South Georgia, talking about changing how district attorneys do business in South Georgia, they would have laughed him out of that room,” Jones said after the hearing.

“But now, all of a sudden, because they want to get back at Fani Willis, now all of a sudden they want to actually do that,” he added.

He also claimed he learned nothing new from the hearing.

“There’s nothing else to talk about quite frankly and we found that out today,” he said. “That’s the only thing I learned was how to become a Fulton County Commissioner. Nothing involved the state of Georgia today. Nothing involved the Georgia State Senate today, at all.”

Following Friday’s hearing, Cowsert said he and his fellow Republicans would like to speak with Willis next, even if that means subpoenaing her.

“She’s a key part of the investigation and her viewpoints are valued by us,” he said. “We need to hear what she has to say and her explanation and what she thinks the appropriate rules ought to be going forward so that we don’t have this kind of scandal giving Georgia a black eye in the future.”

Vivek Saxena


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