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Ethics investigation launched over lawmaker's re-election ad

Posted April 12, 2012

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— The State Ethics Commission has notified Rep. Jim Crawford, D-Granville, that it is investigating whether he broke the law by using the House chamber and legislative aides as a backdrop in a campaign ad.

State law prohibits the use of taxpayer funds in political advertising.

Crawford declined to comment Thursday on the investigation, saying only, “I think there were a lot of innuendos that were very unfair, and it won’t be settled till after the election.”

He told WRAL News a month ago that he doesn't think he did anything wrong with the campaign ad, which shows him speaking on the House floor, with several people seated at lawmakers' desks behind him, as if he were engaged in a floor debate.

The "lawmakers" behind him are legislative aides who were rounded up by his legislative assistant to help with the video shoot.

Legislative staffers Gennie Thurlow and Cindy Hobbs said they were on the clock during the video shoot, but added that there was no intention to break any rules. They said they were just trying to help out.

"This investigation concerns whether you violated (state law) by using the House chamber for one of your political advertisements without payment or reimbursement to the state and whether you allowed legislative employees to appear in the advertisement while they were on state time and being paid by the state," Ethics Commission attorney Susan Lundberg wrote in an April 3 letter to Crawford.

Rep. Jim Crawford Ethics complaint alleges lawmaker used state resources in ad

"This investigation may also address other statutory provisions within the commission's jurisdiction that may have been violated during this time period," Lundberg wrote.

A spokesman for House Speaker Thom Tillis told WRAL News last month that Crawford didn't need permission to use the House chamber because all House members have access to the chamber floor at all times.

Crawford faces a primary challenge in May after he and Rep. Winkie Wilkins, D-Person, were drawn into the same district in new voting maps.

12 Comments

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  • The Yoda Apr 13, 2012

    Move along, nothing to see here, just another crooked Democrat in NC. Its an everyday thing here.

  • whatusay Apr 13, 2012

    happyhourhero....How about Mike Easley???

  • hppyhourhero Apr 13, 2012

    whatusay: how about Cary Allred?

  • bill0 Apr 13, 2012

    "billO....the ethics violation is not about recovering tax payers money, it ABOUT ETHICS VIOLATIONS..... something the democrats know very little about. John Edwards comes to mind."

    There are plenty of ethics abuses on both sides of the isle. Everyone should be able to admit that there are LOT of corrupt politicians even on "their" team.

    My point was that, yep, the guy did it. He shouldn't have, but he did. We are literally talking about grabbing a few people to sit in the background while the camera pans over them though. This isn't the type of thing that has any impact on the outcome of an election or legislation or anything else. I'm 100% behind them going after an real corruption, kickbacks, pay-to-play, and other nonsense that goes on in raleigh. This just seems like political theater though and instead of fighting actual corruption.

  • whatusay Apr 13, 2012

    billO....the ethics violation is not about recovering tax payers money, it ABOUT ETHICS VIOLATIONS..... something the democrats know very little about. John Edwards comes to mind.

  • wildpig777 Apr 13, 2012

    based on prior history -I WOULDNT LOOK TO THE NC DEMOCRATIC PARTY FOR ANY ADVICE OR DIRECTION ON -- ETHICS.

  • sunshine1040 Apr 13, 2012

    Lets see if the ethics committee gets it right the House Chamber is owned by the state of NC and paid for with tax $ . Yes it is unethical but how many political add are strictly ethical and moral and do not distort any facts

  • bill0 Apr 13, 2012

    It seems that we have lost a little perspective on what is serious vs what is trivial. Honestly, we have politicians taking huge "donations" to their campaign from various interest groups and that is just viewed as business as usual. On the flip side, we have a handful of aids who didn't punch out before sitting in the background of a 30 second commercial - and we launch and investigation. Something is seriously wrong here!

    Simple solution - tell the congressman he has to pay the state back for the on-the-clock time he wasted and donate an equal amount to a charity. Don't waste more taxpayer money on things that really don't matter.

  • baracus Apr 13, 2012

    "If this were a republican it would be the top story on the site. My guess is it will be gone from the front page altogether in about an hour...have to give the illusion of fairness right?"

    Still here 12 hours later. Oh well. Meanwhile this story from yesterday about a Republican's business that still hasn't paid its taxes from six years ago didn't stick around very long:
    http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/story/10973299/

  • faperrigo Apr 12, 2012

    Thsnis Dem is targeted because he voted against the Gov on several key votes. NCAE is after him...House Demo want him gone..he isn't progressive/liberal enough

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