Secretary of state chief investigator speaks only to CBS46 - CBS46 News

Chief investigator speaks only to CBS46 about illegal campaign contest

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JONESBORO, GA (CBS46) -

Chip Flanegan maybe running for Congress, but he's also run afoul of state law.

"The violation of the election code I believe is going to be a felony," said Chris Harvey. 

Chris Harvey is the Secretary of State's Chief Investigator. He's handling the inquiry into a contest on Flanegan's website. It offers people a chance to win up to $10,000 if they enter the contest and vote in the May primary. Harvey said that is against the law.

"Georgia law prohibits any person, business or candidate from offering or giving or paying anything of value in exchange for voting, registering, to vote, voting for a particular candidate or cause. You just can't do it. The law doesn't distinguish that you have to vote for a single person. There is a prohibition against any type of inducement or anything of value in order to vote period it doesn't matter who you vote for," Harvey said.

Harvey said violations like this aren't uncommon. He said when people and or businesses find out they are breaking the law, they make appropriate changes.

"If he wants to have a contest where anybody can join regardless of whether or not they voted, that is completely a different story. As long as you make voting a requirement to participate you are offering something of value and that is against the law," Harvey said.

Harvey said he contacted Flanegan through email and by phone, but the two have not spoken directly to one another yet. He also said if Flanegan does not alter the contest, the case will be turned over to the Georgia Election Board which can impose fines and penalties if it finds a violation of state law.

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