Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed under investigation for violating campaign laws: report

"What I have done is what I said I would do since it started: cooperate in every way," Reed said.

Weeks after former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed launched a campaign for a third term, there is a report that he is under federal investigation for allegedly using campaign funds to make lavish personal purchases.

Reed’s administration has reportedly been subjected to a years-long federal corruption probe.

The politician is accused of using campaign funds to make personal purchases of jewelry, resort travel, lingerie, and furniture, as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The details of the questionable experiences were disclosed in a recent court ruling with Reed’s campaign disclosure reports.

Local politician Jeremy Berry appears to be at the center of the probe. He worked as Reed’s campaign attorney before serving as Atlanta’s city attorney in 2017. Berry is linked to “one of the questionable purchases listed in the ruling to an expense on Reed’s 2017 campaign finance report,” the AJC reports.

“Mr. Berry received a subpoena to testify as part of the government’s ongoing investigation,” attorney Scott Grubman said in a statement on Tuesday. “Importantly, Mr. Berry has been assured numerous times, including as recently as [Tuesday] morning, by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, that he is not a subject of the investigation, but is simply a witness.”

Speaking about his legal woes last month to Channel 2 Action News, Reed insinuated that he has been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to the report. 

“The Justice Department under William Barr has looked into every aspect of my life for more than three years and took no action,” Reed said. “I wanted to be mayor since I was 13 years old. I would never ever [have] broken my mother’s heart by taking money from somebody.”

According to the ruling, Reed is being investigated for wire fraud. Judge Barbara Lagoa noted that the court is taking no position “on whether the evidence proffered by the government here would be sufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Per the report, she also wrote that prosecutors have “satisfied its burden of establishing a prima facie case of wire fraud … at the grand jury stage.”

The ruling cites statements from Reed’s attorney to authorities about campaign bank account statements. Federal prosecutors wrote that the politician’s lawyer said “he repeatedly saw expenditures from the campaign bank accounts that appeared to him to be obviously personal in nature, as opposed to being legitimate campaign expenditures,” according to the 11th Circuit ruling. The lawyer said, “these were not isolated incidents.”

Kasim Reed
(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Reed is accused of using campaign funds to make a handful of personal purchases between 2011 and 2017. One of the purchases listed on the disclosure form was “office supplies” in the amount of 1,234.47. Prosecutors also allege he spent 4,259 at a vacation resort; $2,079 in jewelry; $1,003 at a Caribbean resort; and $179 for lingerie, per the AJC report. 

In an interview with the outlet, Reed said he has cooperated “in every way” with the investigation.

“When they have questions they contact my counsel and ask whatever questions they have,” Reed said. “And what I have done is what I said I would do since it started: cooperate in every way. I understand they have a job to do.”

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