Georgia Senate Republicans have advanced their quest to punish Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, filing a formal complaint against her Tuesday under a newly passed law supposedly seeking to rein in “rogue” prosecutors.
The complaint, lodged by eight Republican senators, alleged that Willis, a Democrat, had “improperly cherry-picked cases” to further her political agenda.
Allies of former President Donald Trump have been searching for a way to sanction Willis ever since she indicted him in August in a sweeping election conspiracy case. Initially, some pro-Trump Republican lawmakers pitched the idea of calling a special session to strip funding from Willis’ office, but the effort lacked adequate support.
The complaint falls in line with a string of Republican efforts nationwide to attack Democratic prosecutors, particularly women of color, and strip them of power. In Florida, for instance, Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Orlando-area State Attorney Monique Worrell without pay in August—his second foray into kneecapping a Democratic prosecutor.
But the distinctly pro-Trump effort in Georgia stands apart for how it continues to divide the state Republican Party against itself. Specifically, popular GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, who sponsored the law, has repeatedly said there’s no evidence Willis violated it, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I haven’t seen anything that she has done that has broken the law or the procedures that we have. And I’ve been very honest with people about that,” Kemp said recently. “It may be a political action she’s taken in some ways, with timing and other things, but it doesn’t mean it’s illegal.”
Senate Republicans, by contrast, have steadily pushed forward with their quest to hamstring Willis even after they sunk the doomed effort to impeach her.
The contentious GOP conflict over Willis is just one more way in which Trump continues to drive fissures through the state GOP apparatus. Kemp has attempted to lure high-dollar donors away from giving directly to the Georgia Republican Party, saying, “[W]e can no longer rely on the traditional party infrastructure to win in the future.”
Former Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who in August testified before the grand jury empaneled by Willis, has said Trump “sucked the soul” out of the Republican Party.
Beyond the moral wreckage, Trump has repeatedly cost Georgia Republicans two Senate seats after his historic loss of the Peach State in 2020. Trump’s continued grousing about the November outcome in Georgia preceded the twin defeats of former Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in their January runoff races. Trump also served up another Senate loser in 2022 when he tapped former Georgia football star and alleged wife abuser Herschel Walker to be the Republican nominee.
It’s unlikely the newly filed complaint against Willis will be actionable anytime soon since the recently created commission still needs to adopt the rules and regulations that will govern its work. In the meantime, pro-Trump Senate Republicans will continue searching for other ways to target Willis.
“This complaint is just one of the tools at our disposal,” said Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch, “and we won’t relent until she feels the consequences of her misplaced priorities.”
The more Georgia Republicans continue to do Trump’s bidding, the more it stands to agitate anti-Trump voters and demoralize soft Republican and independent voters—particularly if Trump secures the 2024 nomination.