A candidate for district attorney of the Macon Judicial Circuit is being sued for not paying a bill, and documents show he may have violated state campaign ethics laws.
Gregory Bushway hired HHB Advertising to provide public relations counsel and marketing services for his campaign on or about July 13, according to the complaint, filed Tuesday in Bibb County Magistrate Court. Between July 13 and the filing of the suit, Bushway has failed to pay an outstanding bill of $2,700, HHB’s suit alleges.
Court records show that Bushway did pay HHB Advertising $2,500 for consultations held in June and $1,007 for the printing of campaign “push cards.”
Gary Branan, the attorney for HHB Advertising, said Thursday that $2,300 of the money that Bushway owes is a retainer fee. The remaining $400 is for other services from the company. He said there’s been no communication between Bushway and the company since July.
“They haven’t had any communication,” he said. “He’s failed and refused to pay his obligation.”
Bushway said Thursday that he hasn’t been served with the complaint yet, so he couldn’t comment on its validity.
“I’m not aware of any lawsuit,” he said. “I will not comment until I take a look at the lawsuit.”
Stacey Kalberman, executive secretary for the State Ethics Commission, said candidates are required to register their campaigns with the commission before incurring expenses or collecting donations.
“They have to register pretty much as soon as they know they are going to run,” she said.
While Kalberman said she couldn’t say whether Bushway’s incurring expenses before registering his campaign July 28 was a violation, she said it “sounds like it may be.” The bigger question, she said, is whether Bushway paid bills before registering his campaign.
However, she said, “It’s generally not considered to be a grievous violation.”
No complaint has been filed against Bushway, she said.
The three other candidates in the district attorney’s race registered their campaigns in March and April and filed campaign finance reports with the ethics commission by the July deadline, according to commission records.
The next filing deadline for campaign finance reports is Oct. 18.
Branan said there is no political reason behind the lawsuit.
“There’s a business reason,” he said. “(HHB Advertising) expects to get paid for the work.”
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.