Candidate accuses Cobb school board chair of violating campaign finance laws

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By Rebecca Gaunt

Cobb County Board of Education candidate Catherine Pozniak, a Democrat, filed a complaint against her opponent, Republican incumbent David Chastain, accusing him of violating campaign finance laws.

Chastain’s October financial disclosure reported two donations in excess of the $3,000 maximum. One was from the campaign of state Rep. Ginny Ehrhart (R-west Cobb) for $5,500 and the other was from Taylor English attorney Jonathan Crumley for $4,000.

“We realized our mistake over the weekend and already entered an amendment,” Chastain responded in an email to the Courier at the time. 

The amendments split the contributions between the primary and general elections. 

The complaint states that Chastain accepted contributions in excess of the limit for school board campaigns and failed to file a Form COOSA (Choosing Option of Separate Accounting) and declare his intent to keep separate accounting for each election within the election cycle.

The complaint also states that Chastain is operating and collecting campaign contributions under the guise of multiple campaign committees, none of which are registered with the Georgia Campaign Finance Commission. Candidates can only have one campaign committee under state law.

“As a five-time candidate for public office, David Chastain is well aware of the rules of Georgia’s Campaign Finance Act. The donors that gave David Chastain campaign contributions in excess of the campaign contribution limits are not just any donors. They are donors who benefitted from a no-bid contract David Chastain authorized as a member of the Cobb County Board of Education to draw a map that is not even the responsibility of the school board,” Pozniak said in a news release.

“David Chastain’s disregard for campaign finance laws raises serious questions about his leadership and conduct as Chairman of the Cobb County Board of Education, which oversees the district’s $1.5 billion budget.”

Chastain did not respond to a request for comment.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.

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