Local Politics

Former governor issues statement about investigation

Posted May 16, 2009

Under fire and under federal investigation, former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley issued a brief statement Saturday afternoon.

"I am comfortable with the federal authorities collecting and reviewing all records relating to my 30 years of public service to the people of North Carolina. I am confident of the outcome and we look forward to moving on with our private lives," Easley said.

The statement referred questions to John Wallace, a lawyer who advised Easley during political  campaigns.

This is the first public reaction from the former governor since the publication of a series of investigative articles in Raleigh's News & Observer began the probe into favors Easley may have accepted from friends and campaign donors.

Gov. Mike Easley Easley issues statement

On Friday, the FBI subpoenaed state Highway Patrol records of Easley's travel while he was in office. Highway Patrol Capt. Alan Melvin, who headed Easley's security detail, also has been subpoenaed to speak with federal investigators.

In recent months, the News & Observer published reports of various trips Easley made on private planes of supporters. Many of those flights went unreported on his campaign finance reports and likely violated contribution limits.

Agents have also asked questions about private vehicles supplied to Easley and his family, as well as a coastal property purchase.

Gary Bartlett, executive director of the state Board of Elections, said he has met with Wallace and he expects Easley campaign officials will file more amended campaign finance reports.

“These kinds of stories of political corruption drag all of us back into the bad side of politics,” said Joe Sinsheimer, a Democratic political consultant who played a key role in the investigations that brought down House Speaker Jim Black and Representative Thomas Wright.

Republican political consultant Ballard Everett called Easley’s statement "lackluster."

“It just seems to me that a man of his stature should have said, ‘This was not right …we’re going to look into it. We’re going to take care of the situation,’” Everett said.

Everett said the situation is really a "black eye on our state."

"It's maybe a developing black eye. I still haven't seen the kind of evidence that somebody is going to take to court," Democratic political commentator Barlow Herget said.

Herget and democratic consultant Gary Pearce stress the importance of waiting until the investigation is finished.

“People need to take a deep breath and calm down because it’s being looked into by the appropriate agencies and soon enough everybody will know the facts of the case,” Pearce said.

“I just wish that the governor had been more forthcoming when the reports first started coming out,” Herget said.

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  • bitemedoughboy May 18, 2009

    I hope you go to jail, Mike Easley!!

  • TechRescue May 18, 2009

    Y'all aren't expecting much out of this, are you?

    As we speak, our new Senator Kay Hagan is trying to get the US Attorney (E.B Holding) removed. I can understand why the Dems want him out - he's the guy that put Jim Black, Meg Scott Phipps, and Kevin Geddings (the Lottery Commissoner) in jail, and he's investigating John Edwards and Mike Easley now.

    They want to replace him with... wait for it... Tony Rand's son, who has been (according to the N&O Sunday) "a key ally" of both Hagan and Easley.

    It would seem there is no end to the corruption among NC Democrats.

  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 18, 2009

    Has a major politician ever been put in anything other then a holding cell for anything less then rape or murder? I mean, how many candidates were outed for owing tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes, or unclaimed property etc. and got little to no punishment? Seems like most.

  • ncguy May 18, 2009

    This investigation will be a sham!

    Why would the fbi or sbi get there bosses in trouble?

    Sure I'll investigate myself

  • flipper59 May 18, 2009

    our former has had his hands in several areas they should not of been.
    these people are like power hugry drug dealers. one gets busted and another takes their place.
    can't they see 5 feet in front of them?

  • nufsaid May 18, 2009

    Hagan on her efforts to replace the federal prosecutor - "The president has asked us to submit nominations for these positions, ... so we've been working on this," Hagan said. "It doesn't have anything to do with any cases that are going on. But we're certainly trying to move forward."

  • Ouaouaron May 18, 2009

    Let's see: lawyers investigating lawyers. There will be some noise for a while, then it will all quietly fade away and the sheeple will forget come election time. Easley will get a slap on the wrist and maybe a time-out. Much noise will be made about "reform" but very little REAL reform will take place. Sorry to be cynical, but I came here from a place where corruption has been elevated to a fine art and this is what happens. The positive difference so far here is that they usually don't get re-elected after they've been convicted.

  • zwm02 May 18, 2009

    2005 Travel Records. Just like the missing 18 1/2 minutes of White House tapes. Someone sweat the Highway Patrol Captain.

  • affirmativediversity May 18, 2009

    “These kinds of stories of political corruption drag all of us back into the bad side of politics,” said Joe Sinsheimer, a Democratic political consultant

    ======================

    "Drag us back"...fella, we're in the middle of that "bad side of politics" NOW! There is nothing "back" about it!

    Funny how Democrats don't want to "look back" when its one of their own BUT they can scream and rant at the top of their lungs all day long, calling anyone who disagrees with them hateful names!

  • nufsaid May 18, 2009

    Take a look at something that may give Weasley some confidence:

    http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1530706.html

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