Local Politics

Perdue won't discuss federal probe

Posted October 25, 2010
Updated November 24, 2010

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— Gov. Beverly Perdue on Monday made her first public appearance since an announcement that federal investigators are looking into her 2008 gubernatorial campaign.

Perdue spoke to about 2,000 elected and appointed officials from around the state at the annual conference of the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

During her 20-minute speech, she discussed the state's economic outlook, but she didn't address the federal probe. Afterward, she said she couldn't talk about the investigation.

"I'd love to talk about it. I really wish I could, but I've been advised not to do it," she said.

The federal investigation comes amid a State Bureau Investigation probe of how Perdue's campaign paid for and reported 41 private flights going back to 2005. They weren’t reported until last year.

In August, the State Board of Elections fined the campaign $30,000 for reporting violations.

Two weeks ago, Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby asked for the SBI investigation. He said he had lingering questions about her campaign flights but that they didn't involve Perdue herself.

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.

Gov. Beverly Perdue Perdue won't discuss federal probe

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer has called for an investigation into Perdue's campaign flights since last year. He said Friday that he continues to believe that the campaign broke state law and then tried to cover it up.

Perdue declined Monday to respond to Fetzer's charges.

"It's eight days before an election, and I'm not going to get into a contest with the chairman of the Republican Party," she said. "In terms of the investigation and my campaign, it's inappropriate for me to talk about that, but at the end of the day, we'll all work on this."

Local mayors who attended Monday's conference had mixed opinions on the federal investigation.

"There's no question to me there's something political in this latest involvement," Durham Mayor Bill Bell said. "The timing of it seems pretty strange to me."

"Where there's smoke, there must be fire," Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said. "I do believe in the innocence until proven guilty, so I try to keep an open mind about it."

Democratic consultant and political watchdog Joe Sinsheimer said the probe has just begun, but often these types of investigations don't end well.

"Quite frankly, what prosecutors are communicating is they don't believe the governor and they don't believe the governor's people," Sinsheimer said. "I think Democrats are going to look at the election results and look at (Perdue's) poll ratings and say she cannot run for re-election."

The federal probe into Perdue also comes as a federal grand jury has been investigating former Gov. Mike Easley for almost two years, partly because of campaign flights he took aboard donors' planes.

Last year, the state elections board ordered his campaign to pay $100,000 for dozens of unreported flights. Most of the fine has gone unpaid, and because the campaign has run out of money and shut down, it's unlikely the rest will be paid.

The board's findings in the Easley case were turned over to Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly to determine if criminal charges were warranted. He hasn't yet decided whether to press charges.

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  • wildcat Nov 25, 2010

    New governor is seriously needed.

  • wildcat Nov 25, 2010

    Will she plead guilty or take the afford plea like Easley did?

  • rewster911 Nov 25, 2010

    is this a democrat question and answer session ..sure seems so

  • rewster911 Nov 25, 2010

    i for 1 will be glad when she is sent packing

  • theseahorse Oct 27, 2010

    Mike Easley showed her the ropes.If she did not know something was wrong she is not very smart. But she will be re-elected because she will give state workers a pay raise and they will vote her back in. Just another day in the STATE of Corruption

  • ratherbnwpb Oct 26, 2010

    Hay brown eyed 1, you make a great point. If you are registered dem, and go vote, this only states that a dem voted. Not how they voted. Of those 450k Dems that voted, they could be so angry that half or more voted Republican.

    After all, most Dems are good Americans and listen to common sense. They don't want the wheels to come off(like we're headed) any more than most Republicans. There are some looneys on both sides of the isle. cwood3

    Most Democrats usually vote Democrats. Especially in this election cycle with the rhetoric coming from them you surely
    can bet they arent voting Republican. By Party records too many have already committed to vote and these numbers are showing the same.

  • ratherbnwpb Oct 26, 2010

    Send Bev. home. She is a state employee. Falsifying records-or misappropriating funds would get a state employee fired, so FIRE HER. SEND HER HOME!!! NOW!!!

    Her incompetence is killing us all.
    cwood3

    Speaking of incompetence. The Governor is not a state employee, she is an elected official.They are exempt from State Personnel rules.

  • cwood3 Oct 26, 2010

    Hay brown eyed 1, you make a great point. If you are registered dem, and go vote, this only states that a dem voted. Not how they voted. Of those 450k Dems that voted, they could be so angry that half or more voted Republican.

    After all, most Dems are good Americans and listen to common sense. They don't want the wheels to come off(like we're headed) any more than most Republicans. There are some looneys on both sides of the isle.

    Oh -by the way -just in, Dem shenanigans are already taking place in Nevada. Electronic voting machines are showng Harry Reid checks when people get in the booth-before they touch anything. Like Chicago-vote early and vote often!!!

    Send Bev. home. She is a state employee. Falsifying records-or misappropriating funds would get a state employee fired, so FIRE HER. SEND HER HOME!!! NOW!!!

    Her incompetence is killing us all.

  • mgratk Oct 26, 2010

    Tip of the iceberg. NC has been in the hands of democrats far too long. Corruption and waste is rampant.

  • Weaker Pelosi Oct 26, 2010

    What if you are a registered democrat, but vote repub? Do they still say you are a dem showing up to vote?

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