Local Politics

Subpoenas issued in Easley hearing

Posted October 23, 2009

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— The State Board of Elections on Friday released the names of 28 people subpoenaed to testify in the campaign finance hearing of former Gov. Mike Easley.

The board has scheduled a hearing for Monday to question Easley and others about his campaign fundraising and spending. The hearing could last a week, officials said.

Easley aides, contributors subpoenaed

The subpoena list includes Easley, former Democratic Party officials Jerry Meek and Scott Falmlen, former Easley aides Cari Boyce and Ruffin Poole and former Revenue Secretary Muriel Offerman. Highway Patrol Capt. Alan Melvin, who headed Easley's security detail, and former state Department of Transportation board members Lannie Wilson and Cameron McRae also were subpoenaed.

McRae, a Bojangles' franchisee, hog baron Wendell Murphy and developers Gary Allen and Nick Garrett are among the political contributors subpoenaed in the case.

It's unclear who on the list will actually be called as witnesses, and some people who are called might exercise their constitutional right not to testify.

WRAL News will provide live coverage of the entire hearing, along with expert analysis, on WRAL.com, WRAL Mobile, over-the-air channel 50.3 and Time Warner Cable channel 252.

Questions surround amended finance reports Easley's campaign filed in April after previously failing to disclose the use of an SUV provided by a Red Springs car dealer. The campaign is also under scrutiny over unreported flights on private planes, which could have violated donation limits.

State law prohibits political contributions from corporations and limits individual donations to $4,000 per candidate in any election cycle.

"Every time that we have a peek inside this system, we see that it's still rotten," said Joe Sinsheimer, a Democratic political consultant whose campaign finance complaints sparked probes that led to the downfall of former House Speaker Jim Black and former Rep. Thomas Wright.

"One of the things that we may get into next week is, did any of the folks that were giving large sums of money (to the Democratic Party) designate those funds for Gov. Easley," Sinsheimer said.

Meanwhile, two former lawmakers sent a letter to the elections board Friday, demanding that Chairman Larry Leake recuse himself from the hearing. Former state Sens. Fern Shubert and Hugh Webster contend that one of the private flights Easley took was on a corporate jet to a fundraiser Leake hosted at his Mars Hill home.

"We believe it is important that the hearings and investigation go forward, but we strongly believe Mr. Leake's continued involvement risks tainting the process," Shubert and Webster wrote.

Easley is the first former governor to go before the elections board. The board could take no action or issue a fine or reprimand. The board's findings could also be turned over to the Wake County District Attorney's Office for possible criminal prosecution.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • lkanzig Oct 26, 2009

    might as well just take to the district attorney so that they can give easley a slap on the wrist!

  • discowhale Oct 23, 2009

    "If found guilty, former Governor Easley would then be fully qualified to be a part of Palin's 2012 ticket."

    Except she was repeatedly found not to have committed any crimes, by the Alaskan Board. She quit to get out from under that attack, not because she was EVER found guilty.

    Mr. Weasley hopes he can be as lucky. Or as someone else said, he can go to work for President BOHICA. He can get Mrs. Weasley appointed to a P/T job that goes F/t at 5 times the pay. That way she (we) can pay his legal fees.

    Personally, I wish they'd done this 9 months into HIS first term. Maybe we could have been spared 8 years of useless tax hikes and businesses leaving the state because of increased corporate taxes.

    I wonder if the Elections Commission can get that .75 Billion dollars back he squandered on the State / Federal Employees Retirement Case, back when he was Atty General?

  • OSX Oct 23, 2009

    Wow,,, the untouchables have just been touched. This is going to turn into a 4 year soap opera most likely. I guess it gives us something to read.

  • jet2rdu Oct 23, 2009

    "If found guilty, former Governor Easley would then be fully qualified to be a part of Palin's 2012 ticket."
    by gsmith275492

    Not likely. However, since Easley is a Democrat, he would more likely qualified and feel more in place and could be a member of Obama's cabinet. Tax evasion and not fully disclosing income seems to be resume enhancing in the Democratic Party. He could ask the Treasury Secretary Geithner or Charlie Rangel, Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee for free tax advice too.

  • Dick Oct 23, 2009

    gsmith, you need to reconcile political parties. Sarah wouldn't accept Easley for these reasons:

    -He's corrupt as the day is long,
    -He's a sloppy Democrat with no class

  • Made In USA Oct 23, 2009

    There sure has been a lot of investigations targeting the Easleys over the past MANY months to not have filed charges by NOW. I'm beginning to believe that there are more hidden players favoring the Easleys that are still at it...protecting them from these past investigations.

  • Here kitty kitty Oct 23, 2009

    "Why are these investigations started after someone has served their two terms in office?" Probably for the same reason they'd go after someone who committed a crime 10 years ago. You do a crime amount of time passed shouldn't matter. I'm glad they are checking him. They got a few others and hopefully they'll nail him and his pretty wife too!!

  • jrfergerson Oct 23, 2009

    pbjbeach - I believer your are right on and if I had a thousand I would give it too. nothing will come of this - too many people in high places will be involved and there an't enough prisons to hold them all.

  • Garnerwolf1 Oct 23, 2009

    Offerman?! If I recall correctly, she was either gone by the time Easley was elected or he was the one that named her replacement (which essentially means he fired her and hired someone else). They are really digging in the archives...

  • curiousgeorgia Oct 23, 2009

    Madame Perdue appointed the present State Elections Board. When the Governor is Democrat there are 3 Democrats and two Republicans on the Board. If a Republican Governor were to be elected the Board would have 3 Republicans and two Democrats.