Local Politics

Deposition details illegal campaign contributions by Wilmington businessman

Posted June 18, 2010

— The deposition of a Wilmington businessman released Friday reveals how he channeled hundreds of thousands of of dollars through employees and relatives to make illegal campaign contributions to leading state and national politicians.

Russell Miller “Rusty” Carter pleaded guilty in May to three misdemeanor charges for illegal contributions and was banned from making political contributions for two years.

In the affidavit released Friday, Carter described how he paid bonuses to employees of Atlantic Corp., a packaging company that he owns, so that they would forward the money to the campaigns.

He also said he deposited money to checking accounts in the names of his three children – Wesley, Ellen and Elizabeth Carter – then made political contributions in their names.

State law prohibits one person making a campaign contribution under someone else's name. It also bars corporations from making donations to candidates.

Carter’s employees and children used money he provided to fund the gubernatorial campaigns of Democrats Bev Perdue and Mike Easley, Democratic state Senate majority leader Marc Basnight and Senate campaigns of Democrats Julia Boseman and Erksine Bowles. They also funded the Bush-Cheney Republican presidential ticket in 2004.

In all, records Carter shared show $73,000 in illegal donations funneled through other people and $266,000 provided by his business.

In addition to the ban, Carter was sentenced May 4 to 30 days in jail, which was suspended to two years on probation, and was fined $5,000.

Carter’s attorney, David Long, said his client didn't know the contributions were illegal until Bob Hall, executive director of campaign watchdog group Democracy North Carolina, and State Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer complained about Carter's actions to the State Board of Elections.

In the affidavit, Carter swears that he was not encouraged by either political party to violate the campaign finance law and that he was promised nothing in return.


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  • nanasix Jun 18, 2010

    Wonder how much he gave to Elaine F. Marshall's campaign for SOS
    when she ran, or how much he donated before his sentencing for her Senate campaign. This woman can't run the SOS office. She has cost us millions in lost revenue. You have to remember, this was a "Misdemeanor" charge on Carter, not a "Felony", as it should be. I agree with the comment that NC has more corrupt politicians than other states. I was born and raised in Va., and never heard of so much corruptness in the judicial system and politics, as I've seen and heard about here in N.C. Here in Carteret County, it runs from the Deputies our Ex-Sheriff, his 2nd in command, some judges, the prior clerk, and many attorneys, and I dare not forget our EX-DA, and our new DA & his assistant...amazing what they get by with, when they should be prosecuted and jailed...we must remember: "What goes around, comes around", and those that do wrong, will pay for their crimes one way or another...all we have to do is sit back and wait.

  • censorbait Jun 18, 2010

    His sentence...can't make campaign contributions for two years. Wow! Bet that really taught him a lesson. Another democrat crook and a slap on the wrist by a democrat judge.

  • demo7691 Jun 18, 2010

    Wow scales ofjustice broke on that sentence. No doubt why this country has no fear from detering crimes anymore. If it was a poor man he would have got more for sure.

  • The Fox Jun 18, 2010

    He should did a lot of dodging and weaving with the money for someone "who didn't know it was wrong."

  • luckn4u2 Jun 18, 2010

    Wow,,A slap on the wrist and a 5000.00 fine,I bet he was laughing all the way to the bank..You can bet that the judge that sentenced him was no doubt a Democrat and somewhere along the line he will reap from this light sentence,,It's NC and you cant be honest and run for office or you wont last a spitting spell.It's the worst state in the nation for having more corrupt officials than any other state in the union..

  • yruatwit Jun 18, 2010

    Carter is just one more oozing boil on the body of NC politics.

  • 2kidz1hub Jun 18, 2010

    Only banned for 2 years got me!!! Why not banned forever. 2 years from now he will do the same thing!

  • Nothing New Jun 18, 2010

    If he did not know it was illegal and you all believe that, I have some ocean front property to sell in you Asheville. He should not only go to jail but those you recieved the donations should go with him, they are all in it together, then plead ignorance of the law or I dont recall when caught. The laws are written to be ambigous so they can skirt it and go on cheating the american taxpayers and diluting the vote of American people thinking they always know better than us "small people" as some would say.

  • alshomes Jun 18, 2010

    What a joke. You might as well done nothing.

  • redspringssean Jun 18, 2010

    So this is only a misdemeanor. Seems like if anyone were to take the illegal contributions seriously there would be a felony involved. White collar criminals have it made!