Local Politics

Easley's legal defense tab tops $200,000

Posted July 31, 2009

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— Former Gov. Mike Easley's campaign committee has spent $222,728 on lawyers in recent months to handle questions about his campaign finances, a spokesman said Friday.

The Mike Easley Committee reported to the State Board of Elections on Friday that it spent $263,924 overall between Jan. 1 and June 30, Easley spokesman Ace Smith said in a statement.

"The legal service provided included compliance services, research and reporting and the gathering and assembly of information from past campaigns," John Wallace, an attorney representing the campaign committee, said in the statement. "We have been providing information to move this matter forward and are intent on coming to a quick resolution."

The campaign recently paid $2,720 to the State Board of Elections to make up for improper contributions during the 2000 and 2004 campaigns. Three of the contributions exceeded the $4,000 limit for individual contributions, and campaign officials couldn't determine the source of a fourth contribution.

The North Carolina Democratic Party paid the elections board $24,086 to resolve questions about seven contributions in the 2004 campaign, including several flights on private airplanes for Easley that have become the subject of a federal grand jury investigation.

The grand jury subpoenaed Easley's travel records and has spoken to the Highway Patrol officer who headed his security detail.

The Board of Elections staff also has been reviewing Easley's campaign finance and travel records but hasn't conducted a public hearing on the matter.

The in-kind contributions were made to the Democratic Party, but it's illegal to contribute to a political party with the intent to benefit a particular candidate.

In addition to Easley's travel, the grand jury also has examined vehicles car dealers provided to him and his family, his purchase of a waterfront lot in Carteret County at a below-market price, the sale of a Southport marina to a group that included some political contributors and a high-paying job his wife landed at North Carolina State University.

The campaign committee reported having $428,000 in cash at the end of 2008.

15 Comments

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  • UNCfuturealumi Jul 31, 2009

    and his mug and jug (bank) will just not go away.

  • beachboater Jul 31, 2009

    First question is WHY does he have that kind of money in his campaign fund AFTER his terms are over?

    Second question is WHY do you need to spend over $200,000 to gather information that should be readily available. Seems like filing and copying should be done for a couple of thousand bucks.

    Question 3 - If he is so innocent, why go to the expense?

    I hope the campaign runs out of money and he has to foot the bill.

  • rlsmith5 Jul 31, 2009

    It's a crying shame that HE will not have to pay these expenses as he is the one who caused them. Maybe we should get his political appointees, people who had roads named after them, and those who provided airplane trips to pay all of this. This would be the ONLY FAIR THING TO DO.

  • ncguy Jul 31, 2009

    Gotta love karma!

  • speedy Jul 31, 2009

    and how much has the State spent chasing this crook?

  • miketroll3572 Jul 31, 2009

    Why is this crook not in jail yet?

  • lkanzig Jul 31, 2009

    geee mike i wonder why you are spending so much?
    would it be that you and your wife are crooks?
    he can use campain money for his wifes criminal activities?
    this is just sickening!

  • 37 Jul 31, 2009

    OK, that's it, I'm establishing the 37 Campaign Fund. Why not? Neither one of us is in office or running for office.

    Give generously.

  • Baba Booey Jul 31, 2009

    Now Mary Easley is going to have to get a real job!

  • mochabrown Jul 31, 2009

    Wow, with all his wife was making, seem like could have stepped in and payed that off.

    I guess the taxpayers will be paying for him and his wife for a long time to come.

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