Gov. Brian Kemp must oppose bills creating local prosecutors oversight commission
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp must oppose the Georgia bills that target and potentially undermine local prosecutors and their decision-making, according to a letter sent by CREW today.
If signed into law, Georgia Senate Bill 92 and House Bill 231 would allow state legislators to create and appoint members to an oversight commission that is allowed to discipline or remove district attorneys or solicitors-general. Officials would be able to appoint political allies to the commission to remove the prosecutors investigating them, and better protect themselves from potential indictments. Providing this power to state legislators would politicize the legal system, weaken prosecutorial independence, undermine the democratic process and threaten the rule of law in Georgia.
The bills also raise significant conflicts of interest between Fulton County prosecutors and the state officials supporting the bill who are implicated in the investigation into Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s election results in 2020. Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones supported the bill and acted as a fake elector, and would be able to appoint a member of the oversight board’s investigative panel despite being a part of Willis’s investigation. State Senators Brandon Beach, who is also part of the Fulton County investigation, and Shawn Still, who was listed as the secretary of the Georgia fake electors and was subpoenaed by the January 6 committee, also voted to pass the Senate bill.
Supporting these bills would undermine efforts to prevent abuses of power like those in 2020 from occurring again. The power to remove and discipline district attorneys would enable those involved in the oversight commission to suppress investigations and even attempt to indict lawmakers’ political competition.
Any concern about decisions made by locally elected prosecutors should be voted upon by their constituents or voiced by voters directly. This attempt to eliminate checks on partisan, anti-democratic actions must not be passed. Gov. Kemp must uphold Georgia’s commitment to democracy and the independence of the justice system and oppose these bills.