- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal paid his daughter-in-law’s consulting firm about $607,000 in the final stretch of the 2014 gubernatorial election, according to a fundraising report submitted to state ethics officials Thursday.

Campaign manager Tom Willis said Denise Deal’s firm The Sassafrass Group receives the industry standard of 10 percent of money raised and was an important part of the campaign. According to online campaign finance records, the company received about $1.3 million for fundraising and office management during the race.

Those totals do not include expense reimbursement.

“We had the biggest third quarter fundraising total in the history of Georgia governor’s races,” Willis said. “It was her job to make sure the campaign had the resources to deliver Gov. Deal’s message and vision to Georgia voters, and she delivered that.”

Georgia law doesn’t prevent campaigns from working with family members. Denise Deal didn’t immediately respond to an email Friday.

In the report, Deal’s campaign reported about $115,000 in cash on hand after paying expenses of about $1.58 million since mid-October. The campaign returned about $223,000 to donors after Deal defeated Democrat Jason Carter by a wide enough margin to prevent a runoff election.

The report also included $35,000 in staff bonuses. Deal has said the campaign was his last.

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