Local Politics

Don Beason Closes Door on Lobbying Career

Posted August 15, 2007
Updated August 16, 2007

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— Don Beason, the lobbyist who loaned $500,000 to then-House Speaker Jim Black in 2000, plans to end his career as a registered lobbyist at the General Assembly.

In an statement , Beason wrote, "late yesterday, I contacted the Secretary of State informing her that I wish to resign as a registered lobbyist effective immediately. I want to provide my clients with the opportunity to make other arrangements for representation before the North Carolina General Assembly. I enjoyed my work and appreciate the opportunity I had to serve my clients. However, I feel this is the right thing for me to do."

Black testified at his state sentencing hearing on corruption charges that Beason loaned him the money in June 2000 to upgrade a building Black owned. Black wanted to lease to a nonprofit booster group for downtown Charlotte.

The money briefly showed up in Black's campaign account, but eventually was returned to Beason. Beason apologized soon after the hearing, calling the transaction "a serious error in judgment."

Beason, who has already written a letter of intent to resign from the North Carolina Professional Lobbyist Association, must submit his resignation forms to the North Carolina's Secretary of State's office.

Beason was named the No. 1 lobbyist at the General Assembly during the 2005-06 session in a survey of legislators, lobbyists and reporters by the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

Beason has worked in the past with high-profile companies such as Progress Energy and AT&T, according to state filings. Now, many of those same clients like BB&T and Albemarle Mental Health are dropping the lobbyist. In addition, Catawba County suspended Beason's contract.

"They don't want to be associated in any way with a scandal they don't have anything to do with. So, it damages the relationship whether it's reputation or whatever between client and lobbyist," said Ran Coble, of the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Last year, Beason spoke out about dangerous lobbying reforms at a North Carolina State Bar Association conference.

"Tough ethics laws do not provide strong ethical behavior," he said.

Beason has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

31 Comments

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  • whatusay Aug 16, 2007

    Lobbyists should not be allowed to approach an elected official in private...If they want to persuade their views it should be done in a public forum. Maybe their should be monthly public forums set up for question/answer session between lobbyists and elected officials.

  • Squirreling Dervish Aug 16, 2007

    Saying ALL lobbyists are money grubbing vampires is the same as saying all Yankees are carpetbaggers and all Southerners are rednecks. As with every profession, there are good and bad in the lot. To call them all bad is to diminish the good of some lobbyists working hard to bring the needs of their group to the attention of the legislators. Money doesn't drop into the hands of the Autism Society, or the Multiple Sclerosis Society (amongst many)--someone needs to ASK for it and that person is usually a lobbyist.

  • jgriffith3792 Aug 16, 2007

    Beason needs to be sharing a cell with Jim Black. And anyone else he paid off.

  • HadEnough Aug 16, 2007

    I'm guessing this guy will be in prison this time next year.

  • fredssmithisnotmysenator Aug 16, 2007

    I wonder what ties this gentlemenn has to the esteemed and soon to be King of the World, Senator Fred Smith ( R - Johnston)

  • CestLaVie Aug 16, 2007

    "Groups and organizations have a right to have their voices heard in state and local government in North Carolina just as individual citizens do." Yuh - right!! What's wrong with your statement is that the citizens don't feel they have a voice any more, especially in light of the fact that lobbyists are being PAID big bucks to do the work of those who hire them. Citizens don't have that option; most of us are still delusional that our representatives will actually represent us. You tell me - does money talk??

    "Don't dumb-down North Carolina." Too late. When a majority of a state's citizens spend most of their time working, trying to earn a living & support their families, there's just not enough time to stand up for oneself in the legislature too, so maybe our lack of participation is viewed as negligent and dumb, when in fact it's more like apathy.

    It'd be interesting to see just who you work for, considering all your comments.

  • HangOn Aug 16, 2007

    ".... provide my clients with the opportunity to make other arrangements for representation before the North Carolina General Assembly."

    REPRESENTATION? you mean another BRIBE BUDDY! All you lobbyists are crooks; this one just happened to get caught! REPRESENTATION is what the voters are supposed to get from their "representatives". I guess we have to also pay those crooks to get them to follow through on their campaign promises.
    What a f'ed up system we have!

  • FE Aug 15, 2007

    If it walks like a crook, if it writes $500,000 (oops!) checks like a crook, ........you know the rest. (Actually, from the picture he looks like a toss-up between a used-car salesman and a mafia member.)

    Rest assured this guy was slithering around with all the other pay-me-now legislature folks on Jones St, regardless of any "good intentions."

    If the right people start talking, Mr. Beason might himself eventually get an all-expense paid visit to the Federal prison in PA!

  • poohperson2000 Aug 15, 2007

    North Carolina politicians seem to be a poster child for dishonesty lately. Given this and amoung other reasons, why vote for pretty boy Edwards...

  • then who cares Aug 15, 2007

    He doesn't want to play anymore! He's going to pick up his fortune and go home!!!

    May be too late; someone will be looking a lot closer at his dealings now!! He may have covered his trail but at least he'll sweat a little; wondering if someone sharp is going to be investigating him!!

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