EXCLUSIVE: Fani Willis Failed To Disclose Airline Ticket Paid For By Alleged Lover, Docs Show

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis failed to disclose a plane ticket purchased in her name by her alleged lover Nathan Wade, according to 2022 financial disclosure forms obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Willis did not disclose any gifts from Wade on her annual Income and Financial Disclosure Report for 2022, which requires the disclosure of any gift or favor above $100 from a “prohibited source” — such as anyone “doing business with the county.” Willis hired Wade as a special prosecutor on the election interference case against former President Donald Trump. Willis was recently accused of being Wade’s lover and inappropriately benefitting from lucrative contracts her office had given him.

Wade’s bank statements contained in a recent court filing show Wade purchased a $477 ticket to Miami in Willis’ name on Oct. 4, 2022 — which ethics and legal experts told the DCNF she should have disclosed. Wade also made $1,387 and $1,284 payments to the Royal Caribbean cruise line on the same day he bought Willis a plane ticket.

Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyer during the George W. Bush administration, told the DCNF that Willis should have disclosed the ticket on her form. He said her failure to disclose should be investigated by the state ethics authority.

“The bottom line is, that’s why we have these forms,” he said, noting they are meant to disclose “exactly these kinds of conflicts of interest.”

“She needs to give an explanation as to why it wasn’t on the form,” he said.

Wade’s contract with the district attorney’s office started on Nov. 1, 2021, and he filed to divorce his wife the next day. He has earned nearly $654,000 from the district attorney’s office since 2022, according to county data.

Filling out the disclosure form is required for all elected officials under the Fulton County Code of Ethics  The form requires disclosure of “each gift or favor from a single prohibited source in the aggregate amount of $100.00 or more.” (RELATED: ‘Certainly Looks Bad’: Bank Statements Make It Increasingly Likely Fani Willis Allegations Are True, Legal Experts Say)

Any “intentional violation” of the code of ethics, like “the furnishing of false or misleading information to the board of ethics,” is subject to an administrative sanction up to $1,000 and a public reprimand, according to Sec. 2-82. The board of ethics may also recommend the board of commissioners or “appropriate appointing authority” take disciplinary action.

The form obtained by the DCNF was not signed by the Office of the Clerk to the Commission.

“If she’s found to have intentionally lied on those forms, that’s not just an ethics violation,” Courtney Kramer, Atlanta-based political law attorney and former White House Counsel under Trump, told the DCNF, noting there is the “potential for criminal liability” as well as monetary penalties.

Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Philip Holloway told the DCNF this failure to disclose the ticket adds “to the fast-growing list of actions” Willis needs to explain.

“If a senior Fulton County official accepts prohibited gifts from a contractor who does business with Fulton County or who hopes to in the future, not only is it wrong to accept such a gift, it is of course wrong to fail to disclose it on the required financial disclosure forms,” he said.

“This ethics rule is designed to prevent kickbacks,” he continued. “In my view, it is extremely reckless for an elected official to engage in any kind of nepotism but it is especially reckless if such official is personally enriched by virtue of nepotism.”

Woody Sampson, legal counsel to the Fulton County Board of Ethics, declined to comment, noting it was an issue that could end up in front of the board. A spokesperson for the State Bar of Georgia said it could not “confirm or deny the existence of grievances against any specific attorney” under bar rules.

The district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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