Local Politics

GOP leaders raked in late campaign cash

Posted November 8, 2010

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— Top Republican lawmakers saw a steady influx of campaign contributions in the days leading up to last week's elections, according to campaign finance reports.

Sen. Phil Berger, for example, received $55,000 from groups like the Walmart PAC, Wells Fargo, the North Carolina Trucking Association PAC, GlaxoSmithKline and the North Carolina State Optometric Society.

In 2006 and 2008, he received $18,000 combined during the week before the elections.

Berger, R-Rockingham, is likely the next Senate president pro tempore.

"In general terms, what we're hoping is to have access," said Dr. Alec Parker, executive director of the North Carolina Dental Society, which gave $1,000 to Berger's campaign on Oct. 26.

Parker said the 3,500-member organization usually contributes to both sides early in the election cycle before trying to side with whoever appears to have the upper hand as voters head to the polls.

"The PAC board made some decisions as we got closer to the election to up the ante toward the Republican side," he said. "They would all like to give to winners."

Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, a watchdog group that focuses on money, politics and elections, said special-interest groups make business investments, no matter which political party is in charge.

NC General Assembly 4x3 GOP leaders raked in late campaign cash

"You really do have to follow the money, and the money does tell you a story," Hall said. "It's not a pretty one."

Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, a candidate to be the next House speaker, received $18,500 in late campaign contributions from many of the same groups that backed Berger, including the Optometric Society.

Two years ago, Stam collected $12,000 in campaign contributions in the week before the election. In 2006, he didn't get any late donations.

"It just seems impossible to stop it," Hall said. "People really believe they've got to get the money on the table in order to have a voice at the table, and that's just wrong."

In a perfect world, Parker said, everyone would have equal access. Unfortunately, that's not how the game is played, he said.

"We didn't write the rules, but we have to play by them," he said.

Hall said he expects even more money to start pouring in to the Republican Party and its legislative leaders now that the election is over.

11 Comments

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  • Mugu Nov 9, 2010

    Nobody should donate any money to any political party or candidate... that will end all of those annoying pre-recorded phone calls and all of those political signs littering our roadways a week after elections.

  • Juncyard Nov 9, 2010

    All donations should be unlimited as long as it comes from inside the United States AND there is full disclosure of where the funds truely come from.....Left, Right, or Middle.....America should not be up for sale like it is now...

  • mamacass Nov 9, 2010

    For one hundred years we have had the "Democrat Good Old Boys Back Room Deals" going on (Hunt, Easley, Phipps, Black, Decker,etc, etc). At least the Reps know they are being watched by the few "Good Old boys" left (and the media). It will be headline news if a Republican tries to steal a pen from the state.

  • 6079 SMITH W Nov 9, 2010

    "Share the wealth".......? You're one of them "SOSHULIST", ain't you? ;)

  • whatelseisnew Nov 9, 2010

    "This is the start of Republican Good Ole Boy Back Room Deals with special interest groups, corporate donors, and the rich in their back pockets telling them how to write the laws in their favor."

    Well it is only fair. The Dems here in N.C have had that for a long time. Studies have shown that there is a huge divide between the sums of payoff money received by Dems vs the sums of payoff money received by Reps. Now we need some social justice her for the Reps. Time to spread the wealth.

  • Gidder Dun Nov 9, 2010

    "In general terms, what we're hoping is to have access," said Dr. Alec Parker, executive director of the North Carolina Dental Society,"

    This is the start of Republican Good Ole Boy Back Room Deals with special interest groups, corporate donors, and the rich in their back pockets telling them how to write the laws in their favor. The lower & middle class will feel the brunt force of the current State Legislative Representatives. There is no balance of state governement when one party controls both the House & Senate. If you want a good example then look at the previous US Congress that was controlled by the Dems in both the House & Senate.

  • gpd Nov 9, 2010

    This story says a lot about business and the Democrat party. Other than that, there's no salacious news here to decry unfair advantage to the GOP. If there is an attempt at that, then people really have to wonder who's trying to suppress the electorate's choices.

  • blackdog Nov 8, 2010

    Does anyone wonder why we can't have campaign finance reforms ?...

  • redwolfone Nov 8, 2010

    I think we should adopt the campaign laws they have in Britian. You can only spen X and cant start your campaign until August. That would make it hard to cheat, because you could track spending and the short time to campaign would make folks stick to the issues.

    Candidates could not come on and say "my oponent is a *@^*#^#*". They could but would lose.

  • Worland Nov 8, 2010

    Interesting that the average donation to the GOP was around $45. Not exactly the evil corporate backing the Dems always pitch in the news. Of course, the Dems somehow manage to say the $108M from the SEIU was a grass-roots effort.

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