Judge tosses state fine against ex-lobbyist
Posted January 17, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — A judge has set aside a fine that the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office levied in 2010 against former high-profile lobbyist Don Beason.
The Secretary of State's Office alleged that Beason and his son, Mark Beason, lobbied state lawmakers on behalf of unregistered companies. An administrative law judge later slashed the $111,000 fine the state imposed to $6,000.
State officials alleged that a New Jersey-based iron and steel importer, Sigma Corp., served as a front for an India-based group Beason and his son represented in trying to amend a state law that prohibited imported iron and steel to be used on state highway projects.
A Superior Court judge recently upheld Beason's appeal of the fine, ruling that state investigators hadn't presented enough evidence to support their claims and that the Secretary of State's Office exceeded its authority.
Beason gave up his lobbying practice in August 2007 after investigators linked him to a $500,000 loan to former House Speaker Jim Black. The loan, which was routed through Black's campaign account, came to light as Black was sentenced on state corruption charges stemming from illegal cash payments he received from chiropractors.