Former disgraced Cobb representative fined $10k by state ethics commission
After being found guilty of violating state campaign finance laws, Erica Thomas, a former, disgraced Cobb state representative, has agreed to pay $10,000 in fines to the state ethics commission.
Thomas previously represented state House District 39. According to investigators at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, Thomas failed to file seven campaign contribution disclosure reports. In addition, she was late in filing four contribution reports, and failed to file four personal financial disclosure statements. Candidates are required to file the latter to publicly disclose personal finances, secondary employment, and fiduciary positions.
After numerous complaints from citizens in District 39, the ethics commission opened an investigation into Thomas in 2020 and wrapped up the case at a meeting late last year. Thomas signed off on an agreement with the commission in which she agreed to pay $10,000 in fines — a $8,125 civil penalty and $1,875 in late fees.
In addition to her failings in following the rules related to filing her reports, Thomas is noted for a number of troubling issues within the South Cobb community and at the capitol.
Among the most notable is the false video Thomas placed on social media following a verbal confrontation with a shopper at Publix. Thomas misled the public in the tearful video when she said that a white man told her to go back where she came from. In the video, Thomas claimed she “feared for her life” after a white man “verbally assaulted” her.
Publix staff were interviewed by law enforcement and said that it was Thomas who told the male shopper to ‘go back where he came from’ after he questioned her use of the line for 10 items or less when she had way more than 10 items.
This story made national and international news and left South Cobb looking pretty foolish for its selection of state representation for our area. Though the staff at Publix dismantled her falsehood, Thomas insisted that he did make the statement to her.
After being fined, Thomas did not seek reelection. Several others sought the position. Democrat Terry Cummings won the November 2022 election to serve as the new State Representative for District 39.
When the investigation was first opened in 2020, Thomas told the MDJ the omissions were the fault of a backlog at a company she had hired to handle such paperwork, which she later replaced.The MDJ reported that when they reached Thomas for comment, she accused the reporter of “harassing” her, suggesting that since she is no longer in office that the story was not newsworthy. She reportedly told the MDJ, “My comment is, I don’t want this to be even a story.”