“It Looks Like Corruption”: CEO Gives $50,000 to Kemp’s Leadership Committee After Winning Medical Marijuana License

March 10, 2022

Contributions to Brian Kemp’s leadership committee are facing new scrutiny and allegations of pay-to-play activity. Last night, a new report from FOX 5 Atlanta revealed a $50,000 contribution to Brian Kemp’s leadership committee from the CEO of a medical mariuana company, which came shortly after the company was chosen by the Access to Medical Marijuana Commission (who’s members were selected by the Governor, Lt. governor and Speaker of the House) as one of the six to grow and sell medical marijuna in Georgia.

Kemp is only able to take a contribution this large because of a bill he signed in secret giving himself exclusive access to a committee without contribution limits. In doing so, Kemp not only gave himself an unfair advantage against opponents on both sides of the aisle, but also provided himself a loophole from a thirty-year old ethics law prohibiting fundraising during the legislative session.

A Continued Pattern: This isn’t the first time Kemp’s contributions have been scrutinized. In 2018, an AJC investigation found he accepted over $325,000 in contributions from individuals and companies under his oversight as Secretary of State. Exactly how much Kemp raked in is unknown because he failed to properly fill out his disclosure, leaving out critical information for almost 40% of his donors who contributed a combined $2.7 million to his campaign.

At the time, critics said “such donations could undermine the credibility of one of the state’s top regulators” and two previous secretaries of state said they returned similar donations to comply with the law and avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. The AJC also reported that “the legality of some of these donations is in question.” 

Read more on the shady dealings of Brian Kemp’s leadership committee below:

FOX 5 Atlanta: CEO wins medical marijuana license then gives $50,000 to Governor Kemp’s Leadership Committee

  • The CEO of one of only six companies to be selected for a license to grow and sell medical cannabis gave Governor Brian Kemp’s Leadership Committee $50,000 weeks after his company was awarded a license.
  • But the I-Team investigation found when legislature passed the Georgia’s Hope Act, setting the stage for newly formed companies to grow and sell medical marijuana, [Paul] Judge immediately shifted his political contributions from Democrat to Republican.
  • One month after the passage of the medical marijuana bill, Judge incorporated TheraTrue, a medical cannabis company. And, then he dramatically increased the amount of his political donations and changed from giving to Democrats to Republicans.
  • Within three months, he contributed $25,000 each to two different Republican committees: Advance Georgia and Georgia House Republican Trust. Those donations totaled $50,000.
  • Why is that important? Georgia’s Republican Governor, Lt. governor and Speaker of the House selected every single member of the Access to Medical Marijuana Commission who were tasked with the job of handpicked the winning proposals.
  • “It’s influence peddling,” said Marc Hershovitz. Hershovitz is an attorney who has worked in the political world for decades. He has worked for a Democratic governor and represented candidates, campaigns, and political interest groups.
  • Then, some six weeks after Paul Judge’s company, TheraTrue, was selected as one of only six winners for a lucrative license, Paul Judge contributed another $50,000. This time he gave it directly to Governor Brian Kemp’s Leadership committee.
  • “I think that the pay to play contributions look horrible whether anybody has spoken to each other or not,” said Beth Rotman. Rotman is director of money in politics and ethics for Common Cause, a nonpartisan good government group in Washington D.C.
  • She says she doesn’t know who or what convinced Paul Judge to make a total of $100,000 in campaign contributions to three different Republican committees.
  • “It doesn’t look good to have some people able to give unlimited sums and some people take unlimited funds and then say, don’t worry. Trust us. I represent all of you equally. It just doesn’t pass the sniff test.,” said Rotman.
  • “It looks like corruption. It looks like pay to play.” (All in all it does not look good?) “No,” said Hershovitz.


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