Group blasts Tillis for campaign finance report omissions
Posted February 28, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — A campaign watchdog group criticized House Speaker Thom Tillis Tuesday for continuing to omit required details from his campaign finance reports.
Democracy North Carolina said Tillis has had two chances to get his reports right, but he still has incorrect information or none at all on 40 donors from last fall.
Tillis' initial report in January gave incomplete or incorrect information for 99 donors, who together gave him $91,000, the group said.
"Speaker Tillis himself said they were trying to create a new era of transparency and accountability here in Raleigh, and they need to start putting their money where their mouths are," said Adam Sotak, director of organizing for Democracy North Carolina.
For example, one donor, Gail Blanton, was listed as a homemaker in Tillis' amended report. She hosted an October event that raised $30,000 for Tillis.
Blanton is the chief executive of Time Investment Corp., a Greenville consumer lending company that would benefit from legislation Tillis helped push through the House last year.
House Bill 810, which sits in a Senate committee, would allow small lenders to charge higher rates and fees.
Blanton and other lenders gave Tillis two-thirds of the total from her fundraiser, but his amended finance report doesn't show that she and several others were involved in the industry.
Tillis called it an honest oversight and said it would be corrected.
"I'd have to check with my treasurer, but clearly, Ms. Blanton, if she is a CEO, then she needs to be recorded as such," he said.
Many people were mystified by the bill's passage in the House, especially after then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked lawmakers not to pass it because it would hurt service members who use consumer lenders.
"This fuels that perception that people have, unfortunately, that this is pay-to-play politics and that somehow legislators are trying to cover up what's really going on," Sotak said.
Jordan Shaw, a spokesman for Tillis, called the Democracy North Carolina report a "partisan attack."
"We reject the notion that campaign contributions are linked to this legislation," Shaw said in a statement.