Local Politics

Elections Board: Lawmaker Broke Campaign Finance Rules

Posted June 27, 2007

— The State Board of Elections ruled Wednesday that a Fayetteville lawmaker violated campaign finance regulations and ordered her to repay almost $5,700.

Rep. Mary McAllister, D-Cumberland, was found to have committed a "substantial violation" of rules governing campaign finances. But the elections board found no criminal wrongdoing and didn't refer the case to prosecutors.

The elections board subpoenaed McAllister's bank records after a state audit raised concerns about her campaign finances and her state-funded non-profit.

The 17-year veteran of the state House testified Wednesday morning that she didn't remember certain loan payments listed on her campaign reports. She also claimed election workers may have made mistakes.

When McAllister was confronted with bank records that revealed she deposited money from her campaign into her personal account, she admitted errors. She said she didn't recall where a cash deposit came from.

McAllister told the board that she couldn't remember making any loans but believed she was due repayment from the campaign.

"I know that I'm loaned some money to my campaign, but I don't remember having knowingly or intentionally repaying myself something that I didn't owe myself," she said.

The elections board voted unanimously to order her to forfeit $5,669 in improper loan repayments and to pay the state $7,000 for the cost of investigating the case.

McAllister declined to comment after the hearing.

"Mary McAllister filed reports that she thought were accurate. She used her best efforts. Sometimes, your best efforts are not goo enough," said her attorney, Jonathan Charleston.

"There were mistakes made, but once those mistakes were identified, Rep. McAllister took immediate steps to correct that," Charleston said. "She's a lawmaker; she's not an accountant."

McAllister has filed amended campaign reports to correct the errors, he said.

Elections board Chairman Larry Leake said he found no criminal intent in McAllister's shoddy bookkeeping.

"I can't in good conscience say that she set out to deceive and hide and circumvent our election laws," Leake said.

But former political consultant Joe Sinsheimer, who filed the complaint against McAllister with the elections board, said her actions are unacceptable, regardless of whether there was criminal intent or just simple incompetence.

"It's troubling to think that somebody that's paying that little attention to serious matters of compliance with state law is, in fact, a state lawmaker," Sinsheimer said.

The elections board didn't look into McAllister's $115,000 salary as part-time director for Operation Sickle Cell, a nonprofit organization that provides medical counseling. Allegations had been made that she improperly mingled campaign cash with state funds allocated to the nonprofit.

McAllister is the third Democratic member of the state House to face questions about campaign finance violations.

Former House Speaker Jim Black is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to state and federal corruption charges. The State Bureau of Investigation and the Wake County District Attorney's Office is investigating Rep. Thomas Wright, D-New Hanover, who is accused of trying to hide about $200,000 in illegal contributions.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • El Conquistador es numero Uno Jun 28, 2007

    The African Americans I see wandering around my hometown look a lot fatter and happier than the ones I see on National Geographic running from lions and tigers. The American Africans may be better off.

  • Steve Crisp Jun 28, 2007

    I hate to tell you this, ethalema, but if you are the direct ancestor of a slave, then you are descendant from one of the weaker and less powerful African tribes. Do you you really think that the Dutch and the Portugese ventured into the continent of Africa more than a mile or so in search of slaves? Hardly not. They relied on blacks to capture and bring other blacks to the trading markets, blacks that were subjucated by people of their own race. They were then sold by black men to white men. Read that again. Sold by black men to white men. But wait. In your version of history, whites did nothing but suppress, torture and kill all blacks. Then how do you explain blacks willingly doing open business with whites and whites not just mowing them down and taking everyone?

    Now, none of that means that you or your direct, immediate ancestors are or were weak, so don't take it personally. But accept it as factual history and move on to what's important today and tomorrow.

  • elhalema Jun 28, 2007

    Oh Halyard, I just remembered why I called you a Nazi. You said I came from a weak African tribe since I am African American. We are anything but weak since we overcame the crushing brutality that whites threw at us over the years. My father, grandfather, and so on were men of great strength. Without such strength, they would have buckled under the system of oppression they experienced.

  • Steve Crisp Jun 28, 2007

    Not sure what happened there; I'll try again...

    I go watch Die Hard 4 and come back to being called a Nazi. Well, that's nice, though it is but just another weapon in the liberals arsenal when their position is completely untenable.

    By the way, ethalema, I'm sure my JEWISH mother, grandmother, grandfather, aunts and uncles would find it interesting that I am now a member of the American Nazi Party.

    And when I wrote of the "culture" of defined cohorts, I was specifically thinking about how blacks are world-renown for their family reunions complete with t-shirts, executive committees, and the like. You so rarely see that type of organization in the white community that it can be effectively and properly called a black phenonomon. And it is true for many other differences.

    Yet, I suppose that it's just easier to read the words I write and then presume them to say anything you wish. Again, another liberal debate tactic. Isn't it getting old to always be thrashed in legitimate debate?

  • Steve Crisp Jun 28, 2007

    I go watch Die Hard 4 and come back to being called a Nazi. Well, that's nice, though it is but just another weapon in the liberals arsenal when their position is completely untenable.

    By he way, ethalima, I'm sure my

  • elhalema Jun 27, 2007

    good night

  • Halyard Jun 27, 2007

    No big deal elhalema......good night.

  • Halyard Jun 27, 2007

    You can't unring a bell but thx for trying.

  • elhalema Jun 27, 2007

    Come on Halyard, don't be so sensitive. Okay, I'm sorry.

  • elhalema Jun 27, 2007

    I do not mind Steve or anyone else speaking the truth. I can handle the truth; it is lies, half-truths, anecdotes, distortions, etc. that I reject. Regarding the prison system, black men are disproportionately incarcerated, and we are to blame for much of that. But not all of it. The criminal justice and law enforcement systems are very racist. Moreover, generations of white racism, slavery, Jim Crowism, etc. is the cause for a lot of the poverty in the black community, and poverty is a factor in crime. So, do not point to the prison system and make isolated judgments.