Local Politics

Perdue campaign reports more flights

Posted December 10, 2009

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— Gov. Beverly Perdue's campaign committee has reported another six flights aboard private aircraft as far back as 2004, according to information filed recently with the State Board of Elections.

Raleigh attorney Terence McEnally III provided four flights between June 2004 and March 2006, for a total of $1,348. Mary Brinn, an executive with a New Bern glass company, provided a May 2006 flight worth $355, and Stubbs & Perdue, the law firm of Perdue's former husband, provided a December 2006 flight worth $475.

Campaign finance report Tardy campaign finance reporting blasted

The campaign recently paid Stubbs & Perdue for its flight, and it treated the others as in-kind contributions.

The move follows reimbursements Perdue made in July for 17 flights, totaling more than $18,700.

Campaign treasurer Oscar Harris said in a Nov. 17 letter to the State Board of Elections that campaign officials have been auditing Perdue's campaign finances after the campaign shifted to a new software program. The officials came across the previously unreported flights in the process, he said.

Perdue said Thursday that her campaign deserves credit for finding the errors internally and reporting them.

"I feel very comfortable that we once again have moved to ensure that every T is crossed and I is dotted. It's what needs to happen if we're going to have total transparency," she said.

Political watchdog Joe Sinsheimer said there's no excuse for not reporting campaign flights for several years.

"If the governor wants to live up to her own words about transparency and accountability, she's going to have to start with her campaign and do a better job," said Sinsheimer, whose campaign finance complaints sparked investigations against former House Speaker Jim Black and former state Rep. Thomas Wright.

Tom Fetzer, chairman of the state Republican Party, also criticized Perdue for the tardy reporting.

“While Gov. Perdue casts herself as a reformer, she continues to admit to illegal campaign behavior," Fetzer said in a statement. "Apparently, the governor thinks she can break campaign finance laws prior to an election and then clean up the mess after she is in office.”

Following an October hearing into alleged campaign finance violations by former Gov. Mike Easley, the elections board ordered Easley's campaign to forfeit $60,000 for plane trips he took on private planes that were never noted on campaign finance reports. A $40,000 fine was levied against the campaign committee to pay for the cost of the state investigation into the matter.

The board also turned its findings over to prosecutors to determine whether Easley should face any criminal charges in the case. A decision is expected by February.

Campaign laws forbid corporate donations to candidates and limit individual contributions to $4,000 per election cycle. The value of the flights reported by Perdue's campaign didn't put individuals over the limit when combined with other donations, however.

Sinsheimer said the elections board must send a stronger message on campaign finance problems.

"If you report the problems before the press gets a hold of them, we're not going to take action," he said. "I think that's the mentality that needs to change. We've seen too many problems, and quite frankly, the campaign finance system in this state is under attack."

46 Comments

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  • trojandnc Dec 15, 2009

    Status Quo for all North Carolina Politicians both Democrat and Republican. On one hand you Gran-stand that you have never been so furious as to follow a Judge's order to follow the law and release the two inmates while on the other hand you are have been breaking campaign finance laws over and over. Please spare me!

  • jet2rdu Dec 11, 2009

    Now a word from our sponser.

    To Fly, to rush at the wind, to fly as high as the wind itself, those are our elected officials at North Carolina Air Lies. They Love To Fly, but can't remember when or why.

  • hpu92 Dec 11, 2009

    Bev, Bev, Bev. . .find the problem BEFORE you report! If your current folk can't get it right, send them to the house!!!!

    Try these simple steps:
    1.) Get a current calendar
    2.) get a pen (or pencil or crayon--maybe lipstick in a pinch!)
    3.) document the day you travel on the appropriate date
    4.) have staff compile the reports using the calendar you have documented travel
    5.) SUBMIT the report!!

    And "at the end of the day" you are not having to find the errors and then say..."but we found the mistake!" Now, talk about transparency...all in 5 simple steps!

    If you keep it up the way you currently are, you may find yourself at the Clarion on camera trying to explain! Look at your buddy Mike! And "at the end of the day" it could be ugly!

  • whatusay Dec 11, 2009

    I'm sure we will see more irregularities surface now that the door has been opened. Perdue will continue explaining they were "oversites" as each one is discovered. Typical politicians and crooked lawyers in damage control mode.

  • wolfpacker1 Dec 10, 2009

    WOW! Another crooked politician! Does this surprise anyone? I can proudly say I didn't vote for her!

  • james27613 Dec 10, 2009

    Too many people on the campaign committee who don't do their jobs.

    They have legal, accounting and media people and nobody knows
    what the others are doing.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 10, 2009

    "Status Quo" Bev is no better than Easley and Jim Black. It's just that she hasn't been caught and prosecuted.

  • bubbba Dec 10, 2009

    dang it....censored again......

  • gtstallings45 Dec 10, 2009

    Bev wants credit now for finding out campaign flights from years ago? Good grief.

  • craig3 Dec 10, 2009

    Am I the only one who thinks she looks really creepy in the picture they used for the article?

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