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Mayor Reed defends Koch contributions to PAC

10:19 AM, Nov 2, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA - The Atlanta school board race is in evidence in the sea of campaign signs outside the Adamsville early voting precinct.

The races erupted into the spotlight with the disclosure that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had helped form a political action committee that has donated to the campaigns of some school board candidates.

State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) has criticized the PAC because of its ties to big business.

"He's collaborating with the same people who got the Atlanta Public Schools in trouble," Fort said Friday.

Fort and other Democratic activists clobbered Reed this week when they saw a $6,500 contribution from Koch Industries -- parent company to Atlanta based Georgia Pacific -- and whose Republican owners are despised by liberal activists.

Read the contribution report here

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"When I heard that the mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed had formed an alliance with the Koch brothers, it thoroughly disgusted me," said Walter Andrews of the Communication Workers of America, a labor union.

Friday we asked Reed if the criticism was valid.

"The contribution they're referencing is for Georgia Pacific, which employs thousands of people who live in the city of Atlanta," Reed said. He said the PAC was formed to counter out-of-state conservative groups poised to pump money into Atlanta's school board races. "And we simply put together a local effort to counter that," Reed said.

Fort called that "spin," pointing to the disclosure form. The form says the $6500 contribution comes from "Koch Industries Inc." of "Wichita Kansas," and not Georgia Pacific.

"For the mayor to collaborate with the Koch brothers is beyond the pale. It's inexcusable," Fort said.

This week, President Obama endorsed Reed's re-election. Reed says the Koch Brothers contribution won't tarnish his liberal credentials.

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