Local News

Board Of Elections Investigates Democratic Campaign Money

Posted December 16, 2005

— The state Board of Elections is looking into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the state Democratic party are legal.

The case boils down to interpreting North Carolina's campaign finance law, which prohibits any use of corporate money for campaigns.

Friday, state Republicans argued corporate support helped raise funds for the rival Democratic Party.

In its written complaint to the state board of elections, the GOP questions how the North Carolina Democratic Legislative Committee could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars without help.

Campaign records show the DLCC took in more than $460,000 from contributors across the country. The PAC reports no fundraising expense.

"In order to raise money you either have to send out a mail solicitation or pay the cost of calling somebody up and asking for the money," Bill Peaslee of N.C. Republican Party. "The DLCC seems to have raised close to a half million dollars without having to spend a dime to raise it."

Peaslee believes the national DLCC, which accepts corporate money, raised the funds, then funneled them to North Carolina.

Close to $400,000 went to the state Democratic Party during the 2004 election cycle.

State election leaders tell WRAL there are plenty of questions and they plan to investigate.

Late Friday, WRAL spoke by phone with the executive director of the national DLCC.

He admited the corporate funded group raised the money by phone and that the money was directed to North Carolina.

However, Michael Davies said, "I'm very comfortable with the way we operate ... North Carolina dollars are not mixed with corporate contributions."

He says a number of federal organizations use the same strategies.

The issue will require the legal opinion of the board of elections.

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