Local Politics

Wake DA asks SBI to investigate Perdue campaign flights

Posted October 1, 2010

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— Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said Friday that he has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into unreported campaign flights by Gov. Beverly Perdue.

The State Board of Elections last month fined Perdue's campaign $30,000 for 41 flights aboard campaign donors' planes during the 2004 and 2008 elections that weren't disclosed in campaign-finance reports until the past year.

Willoughby stressed that his questions don't directly involve Perdue or any other elected official.

"I don't know whether anyone's done anything inappropriate," he said. "I think the State Board of Elections may have been a little hasty in its decision. There are still issues that need to be addressed."

He declined to elaborate other than to say he has questions about "the payment for and reporting of" the flights.

Perdue and representatives of her campaign have maintained that there was never any intent to conceal the flights, some of which might have violated state limits on contributions to candidates. Rather, they have said, the campaign had "a flawed system for recording flights," and the trips weren't discovered until an audit of campaign records was conducted last year.

Spokesman Marc Farinella said Perdue's campaign would cooperate with the SBI investigation but added that he believes agents will conclude that there was no criminal wrongdoing in the case.

The elections board has investigated campaign flights by Perdue and other 2004 and 2008 gubernatorial candidates since late last year. In June, an investigative report found that most candidates didn't properly account for campaign flights, but Gary Bartlett, executive director of the elections board, said at the time that there was no evidence that anyone tried to skirt campaign finance laws.

In August, the board released an additional 10-page investigative report that showed how Perdue's campaign kept detailed notes about her travel aboard private planes and how it was funded.

In recent months, Perdue's campaign has filed amended campaign-finance reports to reflect the flights. Some were treated as in-kind donations, and the campaign repaid other donors for flights because they had already given the maximum allowed to her campaign.

Last year, the elections board ordered the campaign of former Gov. Mike Easley to pay $100,000 for dozens of unreported flights, and they turned their findings over to Willoughby to determine if criminal charges were warranted.

The case eventually wound up in the hands of Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly, who hasn't yet decided whether to press charges.

22 Comments

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  • timbo 2.0 Oct 1, 2010

    I wonder if the SBI will screw this up too?

  • geosol Oct 1, 2010

    Oh sorry, this is just more "liberal media" propaganda. So you just can't take this seriously because that's what you've been told to believe. Unless, of course, it involves people who don't share your extremist political views. In that case, its "vital information". No need to worry about the hypocrisy.

  • Nothing New Oct 1, 2010

    Lets see the commander of the Highway Patrol has resigned, the Dept of Revenue head has resigned, both appointed by Bev. Now they was the SBI to investigate Bev and good ole Roy runs the SBI which also has a very questionable record now and should be completely overhauled, but not by the Democrats. What do you think the outcome of this investigations will be?????

  • Rolling Along Oct 1, 2010

    "input" I am with you...think we will get any forgiveness? NOT!

  • NCHighlander Oct 1, 2010

    OK! Now who trust the NC SBI to investigate anything these days?

  • seankelly15 Oct 1, 2010

    How does the Wake DA have anything to do with this issue? He has no jurisdiction so he is not acting in the capacity of a DA. He is just a Republican calling for an investigation. It doesn't matter one whit what his occupation is.

  • ncguy Oct 1, 2010

    good move Colon!

    when will you be running?

  • input Oct 1, 2010

    Maybe I can use the same excuse as our Governor for reporting taxes. I have a flawed system of keeping records so please excuse me.

  • imdicktrickle Oct 1, 2010

    Bev. Perdue is the worst Governor we ever had, yes including Jim Hunt. I voted for Vinroot!!!

  • davidgnews Oct 1, 2010

    I wonder how much Perdue is coached on that 'deer in the headlights' look? It's really getting old now. When are the skeletons coming out of the closet for Roy Cooper? They're probably quite a few as well. There seems to be no branch of our state gov't that escapes corruption.

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