Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina State Bar on Monday reinstated former Gov. Mike Easley's law license following his November 2010 conviction for a campaign finance violation.
Easley's law license was suspended shortly after the guilty plea, pending the conclusion of formal disciplinary proceedings.
The State Bar ordered a year ago that the suspension remain in place for another year. A disciplinary panel voted against disbarring Easley, determining that there was no evidence that he knew the details of his campaign finance reports, he took responsibility for the shortcomings of his campaign and he expressed remorse.
He filed a petition last month to have his license reinstated, and the State Bar didn't object to the request.
Easley entered an Alford plea to one felony count of certifying a false campaign finance report. In an Alford plea, a defendant pleads guilty, while maintaining his innocence, and admits it is in his best interest to take the plea deal because there is sufficient evidence to find him guilty.
The charge stemmed from omitting an October 2006 campaign flight, which was provided by a long-time supporter, from quarterly reports.
The State Board of Elections ordered Easley's campaign in 2009 to pay $100,000 for flights he took aboard donors' private planes during the 2000 and 2004 campaigns. Most of that fine remains unpaid.