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Local Politics

Critics: Perdue campaign finance problems show 'ineptitude'

Posted March 24, 2010
Updated March 25, 2010

— Criticism continues to grow over Gov. Bev Perdue's campaign finances.

Since last summer, her campaign has reported to the State Board of Elections 31 flights aboard donors' planes, at a total value of more than $25,000.

Last week, the campaign forfeited $48,000 to elections officials, saying they suspected a Wilmington businessman paid his employees to make political contributions to Perdue.

State law prohibits people from making contributions in the name of another person.

Answer the Question Bev billboard More explanation sought from Perdue's campaign

"If there's a mistake, you don't try to cover it up. You say the truth and face up to the public and say, 'This is what's happened,'" Perdue said Wednesday.

State Republican Party leaders have clamored for months for an elections board investigation into Perdue's campaign finances similar to the one the board conducted last year on former Gov. Mike Easley.

GOP officials even paid for a billboard along Capital Boulevard in Raleigh calling for Perdue to be more forthcoming about her campaign finances. The billboard says, "Answer the Question, Bev."

Democratic political watchdog Joe Sinsheimer said Wednesday that questions about Perdue's campaign fundraising and spending signal a systemic problem in government.

"It paints a pattern for Gov. Perdue and her campaign of ineptitude," said Sinsheimer, whose campaign-finance complaints helped lead to criminal convictions of former House Speaker Jim Black and Rep. Thomas Wright.

"Reporting campaign events a year later doesn't help the people of North Carolina figure out what's going on in campaigns," he said.

Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said full disclosure is the goal, even if it comes late.

"What we do not want is somebody to sweep it under the rug and act like it never happened," Bartlett said, adding that the board's stance on violations that candidates report themselves "depends on the set of facts, the circumstances, and what it is."

Sinsheimer argued that big donors shared by Easley and Perdue show pay-to-play politics persists in state government. He predicted that the elections board would eventually hold a hearing on Perdue's finances.

"There are too many questions about Gov. Perdue's finances to let the issue slide," he said.

Perdue said she stands by her campaign's reporting.

"I'm the one who voluntarily said, 'Put it out there for people to know about.' I still have a team working, and I would say that people who live in glass houses should do the same," she said.

The elections board is looking at the campaign reports of all Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates from 2004 and 2008 to see whether anyone else took flights on donors' planes.

Campaign laws bar corporate donations to political candidates and limit individual contributions to $4,000 to a particular candidate in a single election.

The elections board ordered Easley's campaign to pay $100,000 for dozens of unreported flights he took during the 2000 and 2004 campaigns.

62 Comments

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  • R_U_breakdance fighting Mar 25, 4:31 p.m.

    It doesn't mean they respect each other any less, it means they respect each others opinion and still love each other when it differs.

  • delilahk2000 Mar 25, 4:30 p.m.

    I AM SO ASHAMED OF THE LACK OF RESPECT THAT THESE PEOPLE DO TO THE OFFICE THAT WE ELECT THEM IN. THE ARROGANCE THAT THEY THINK THEY ARE INTITTLED TO ANYTHING, AND EVERYTHING JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE THERE. BETWEEN LOCAL GOV. AND THE US. GOV. THEY ALL NEED TO BE BROUGHT DOWN A PEG OR TWO AND SHOWN THAT THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO KEEP TAKING FROM US, WITH NO REGUARD OF THE CONSEQUESES AND LACK OF RESPECT FOR US THE REAL TAXPAYERS. OUR FORFARTHERS WOULD BE ASHAMED AT HOW THEY SO BLATENLEY WALK ALL OVER THE CONSTITUTION.

  • R_U_breakdance fighting Mar 25, 4:29 p.m.

    "LOL, ech, apparently she RESPECTED her husband's wishes"

    WOW!!!! I really did read that! OK, how about she learns to respect herself and her own ideas. WOW, just wow.

  • R_U_breakdance fighting Mar 25, 4:26 p.m.

    garrettsmom - why do you allow your spouse to make your voting decisions for you? I know married couples that are split when it comes to politics and there is no way in h-e-double toothpicks that one of them will dictate how the other should vote.

  • R_U_breakdance fighting Mar 25, 4:19 p.m.

    "My spouse was advised to give to her campaign by the boss with the clear message that not to do so would be a career limiting move. "

    Ok, tell us another one. If your spouse was so against it, why not blow the whistle? Stand up for yourselves! Not wait until after the fact and start pointing fingers when you knew the whole time. Sounds like a fairy tale if you ask me.

  • whatusay Mar 25, 3:38 p.m.

    Please, please, just show me one honest politician.

  • superman Mar 25, 3:13 p.m.

    I am sure that she was not aware of computers and how they could record and track her campaign funds. Computers have been around now for at least a couple months so when is she going to get her records straight? With computers there is just no need to have sloppy record keeping.

  • ncguy Mar 25, 1:30 p.m.

    Bev would have never given back the money on her own if the story wasn't uncovered by reporters.

  • wakeconative4ever Mar 25, 1:07 p.m.

    Ok, Red, you are right...I KNOW I will not vote for her again. She was actually the first dem that I have ever voted for. I am a hard core republican. And I am ashamed that I did vote for her, but I did state my reasons for doing so. And my vote against Pat McCroy was based on a very specific comment he made, as it would have affected my husband's job negatively. But, again, I WILL NOT vote for her again. Thanks for calling me out on that!

  • ThinkChick Mar 25, 12:31 p.m.

    EyesintheSkies: benefits of being multilingual. But I confess I had to guess a lot. Lack of grammar and logic was a big problem. :)

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