Local Politics

Review of Campaign Reports Shows $119,000 Missing

Posted March 30, 2007

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— A state lawmaker under investigation by for campaign finance irregularities might have to account for as much as $119,000 in contributions not reported to state elections officials.

The state Board of Elections began looking into allegations that state Rep. Thomas Wright, D-New Hanover, tried to hide contributions from landfill developers. The probe turned into a criminal investigation three weeks ago after state officials said Wright wasn't forthcoming with answers to their questions.

The elections board has subpoenaed Wright's bank records to try to determine if contributions were returned, illegally pocketed or just recorded incorrectly.

Wright couldn't be reached for comment Friday, but his attorney said he is cooperating with the State Board of Elections.

Wright, who has stepped down from his House committee leadership positions because of the investigation, has said previously that special interest groups are trying to destroy him.

Mark Shreiner, a reporter with the Wilmington Star-News, recently pored over Wright's campaign finance reports and compared them to reports filed by lobbyists who said they gave money to the lawmaker. He found more than $119,000 unaccounted for since 1992.

"You had a number of contributions, then one that wasn't reported," Shreiner said. "It's an accounting puzzle, a mystery."

House Speaker Joe Hackney said Friday that people shouldn't rush to judgment in Wright's case.

"The investigation into the campaign finances of Rep. Wright continues, and we hope it will conclude soon. Until that process is complete, it would be unfair and premature to say anything about specific allegations made outside the scope of the investigation," Hackney, D-Orange, said in a statement.

But legislative watchdog Joe Sinsheimer, who filed the initial complaint against Wright, said he sees no excuse for the missing money.

"If he was motivated in some part by a scam to put the money in some other entity, his personal bank account or some other place other than his campaign account, than that makes the whole pay-to-play system in Raleigh that much more disturbing," Sinsheimer said. "I only think we've seen the tip of the iceberg."

If Wright knowingly signed false campaign reports, he could face perjury charges.

9 Comments

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  • nccruzer Apr 3, 2007

    I'm sorry but I can't stop laughing... I wonder if patriot4liberty had actually thought that Jim Black was black for all this time?

  • nccruzer Apr 3, 2007

    You are seriously convinced that everybody is out to get this guy because he is black? And aliens are going to abduct him next I guess?

    I wish I had so much money I could just lose account of $119,000. Maybe I'd find it in my jeans pockets later after it's been washed. ;)

  • twright530 Apr 3, 2007

    He has passed the Democrat test.

  • homeimprovement Apr 3, 2007

    "Now. If the Repubs would shine that light in their OWN closets ..."

    Ok, it is the Republican's fault that money is missing... This is so predictable.. The Republicans made us do it!!

  • Pilot Apr 3, 2007

    Hey patriot4liberty, I think he was using Black as a name, as in Jim Black, Speaker of the House? Surely you remeber? No? Maybe not then? In any case, he was indited for taking bribes. Has NOTHING to do with RACE, unless you want it that way. BTW, Jim Black is white.

  • patriot4liberty Apr 2, 2007

    Now. If the Repubs would shine that light in their OWN closets ... and / or stop fudging with ONLY BLACK PEOPLE who are serving in office... perhaps we could get some REAL reform, rather than this racist bullcrap we've been seeing.

    Has anyone else been paying attention to the reason those 8 federal judges were fired? It was because they would NOT participate in these kinds of racist-focused investigations.

    If they're not willing to put their own lives under the spotlight and suffer their own consequences, they need to stop trying to unseat all the ELECTED Black officials they can find.

    JERKS.

  • poohperson2000 Apr 1, 2007

    It is not just the Dems, they are all crooked. I am a Republican and I still beleive there are some bad fish in that pool too. I think by definition politicians are crooked these days.

  • Get a clue Mar 31, 2007

    You would think these politicians would learn. As if they don't make enough already.

  • Cowboy Mar 30, 2007

    Another crooked democrat politician in norh carolina....Black was only the beginning of the corruption.