The president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, state Rep. Tyrone Brooks, said Tuesday he is under investigation, but he provided few other details of the probe.
Macon City Council members Henry Ficklin and Elaine Lucas, both GABEO officers, said they have been subpoenaed as part of the investigation. It was unclear Tuesday if the investigation was state or federal.
Brooks, an Atlanta Democrat, called the situation a smear campaign thats in response to the organizations equal justice work.
GABEO is an affiliate organization of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Were partners. SCLC has made the Moores Ford Bridge lynching case the No. 1 priority of their organization, he said at a news conference.
We know thats the real reason for the harassment, Brooks said.
The infamous 1946 Moores Ford case is a yet-unsolved murder of four young black people by unmasked whites on a bridge between Monroe and Watkinsville. Its the last mass lynching case in the United States.
Finding the perpetrators is one of GABEOs main campaigns, which Brooks said Tuesday provokes the same federal elements that spied on Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and other civil rights leaders.
Lucas said she was caught off guard by the turn of events.
Im frankly surprised at any investigation of such a fine elected official as Rep. Brooks, said Lucas, GABEOs vice president.
Ficklin, GABEOs treasurer, said Monday night he thinks Brooks alone is the subject of investigation, not the entire group.
Asked if the subpoena of Ficklin indicates a financial investigation, Brooks replied, He can speak for himself. Were not an organization that receives millions and millions of dollars. Rev. Ficklin can speak to the finances of GABEO. I trust him. I understand this (government) strategy of planting rumors in the media.
Tuesday, Lucas said she got notice of her subpoena last week, but she hasnt actually received it yet. She believes the inquiry is being conducted by the state.
I think all the officers of GABEO have been subpoenaed, Lucas said.
Brooks said he thinks the target of the investigation is both himself and GABEO.
There may be some motive, he said, in terms of the people here in the Atlanta office of the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys Office to try and embarrass President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.
Of his own profession, Brooks said hes a civil rights worker and has some small enterprises.
I dont fear the federal government in any way. I have lived with the cloud of, I guess you could say, spies from the federal government for many, many years.
Brooks had not hired an attorney by Tuesday afternoon, but he said former Gov. Roy Barnes, who is a lawyer, had offered his service.
State Rep. Patty Bentley, D-Reynolds, is a former interim secretary of GABEO. She said she has not been contacted by any investigating agencies.
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