State News

Ex-lobbyist investigated over client payments

Posted April 28, 2009

— The North Carolina Secretary of State's office is investigating a former lobbyist on allegations that he had clients underreport their payments to him.

A four-page statement filed in Wake County Superior Court said an investigator thought former lobbyist Don Beason told some of his 24 clients in 2007 to provide inaccurate information on state disclosure forms.

Beason said he didn't know special agent John Lynch of the Secretary of State's office was investigating and hadn't talked to him, The News & Observer reported Tuesday. Beason did not respond to further questions, the newspaper said.

The newspaper reported that Beason's lobbying ended in 2007 when reports surfaced that he gave a $500,000, no-interest loan to former House Speaker Jim Black. The former speaker is serving a five-year federal prison sentence for a political corruption conviction.

"I have discovered a pattern of under reporting of the lobbyist compensation," Lynch wrote in the sworn statement filed in the court. "This under reporting is often done at the instruction of the lobbyist without any written or substantial justification."

Lynch said he learned that Beason asked the Albemarle Mental Health Center, a regional facility in Elizabeth City, to report less than he was paid.

Lynch didn't identify the 23 other clients.

State law treats many reporting violations as misdemeanors.

Lynch's affidavit was filed as part of the Secretary of State's lawsuit seeking records about Beason from Progress Energy, one of his clients, which has since agreed to hand over the records. The Raleigh-based utility said in a statement its relationship with Beason was "handled in compliance with all applicable laws regarding lobbying compensation."

Beason once represented some of the state's biggest companies and earned fees as high as $50,000 from clients.

After ending his lobbying career, Beason was convicted of assault for brandishing a gun during a July 2007 road rage incident.

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  • affirmativediversity Apr 28, 2009

    Andiecat:

    Why would a republican give $500,000.00 to the DEMOCRATIC SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE with no strings, no interest?

    Nice try though...lol!

  • Andiecat Apr 28, 2009

    To all of the folks who are mentioning Democrats. For crying out loud, Don Beason is and always has been a Republican!

  • Squirreling Dervish Apr 28, 2009

    Easley falls under the category of slime devil that oozes under a door and uses his prior position as "the Guvna" to hold sway over the Legislature. I think he should be BANNED for 2 years after leaving public office from exerting influence over the public sector.

  • FloydRTurbo Apr 28, 2009

    ..."I say they need to kick all them out in local, state and federal government. NO MORE LOBBIST..."

    ______ Who is "they" and who is "them" ???? "They and Them" are forever linked at the hip (where "they" keep their wallets. I love this concept of some batch of avenging Eagle Scouts who will dramatically swoop in and drive the moneychangers out of the political temple. ...... bwahahahaha.

  • nufsaid Apr 28, 2009

    "Ranquick
    First off, not all Lobbyists are crooks, tax dodgers and cheats. Some of them fill a very valuable niche in the state legislature and perform a valuable function. Squirreling Dervish loves Fuzzy"

    I agree. Kind of like lawyers. 99% give the other 1% a bad name. Now Easley has joined the mix. Which % does he fall under?

  • Squirreling Dervish Apr 28, 2009

    Ranquick

    First off, not all Lobbyists are crooks, tax dodgers and cheats. Some of them fill a very valuable niche in the state legislature and perform a valuable function. How do you think schools, universities, major non-profits get the the ear of the legislature with requests for additional funding. Yes, an evil Lobbyist.

    So before you levy such criticism and cast dispersions on an ENTIRE profession because of a few bad apples, think of whay Lobbyists can bring Non-Profits such as the Susan Komen Cancer/Autism Society/MS Society and the like.

    Oh, and you need to learn how to spell. It's L O B B Y I S T.

  • ranquick Apr 28, 2009

    This is where all our taxmoney goes to Lobbist who care nothing about the people only themselves and making wallets bigger. I say they need to kick all them out in local, state and federal government. NO MORE LOBBIST

  • affirmativediversity Apr 28, 2009

    I wonder how much he gave to Bev? And for "what favors"??

    Pay to Play...and they say its a Chicago problem...sounds more like a DEMOCRAT PROBLEM!

  • FloydRTurbo Apr 28, 2009

    "voted in"? ...... actually Don "The Cryptkeeper" Beason is not an elected official. He lurks at Big Ed's where he plots and schemes to line his pockets and does his "best" to corrupt state government as much as he possibly can.

    He has been very "good" at what he does for quite some time..... unfortunately for the citizens of NC.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Apr 28, 2009

    ANOTHER TAX CHEAT DEMOCRAT! Keep VOTING THEM IN people!