Local Politics

Sparks Fly Over Proposed DOT Board Campaign Donation Ban

Posted January 8, 2008 5:23 p.m. EST
Updated January 8, 2008 7:22 p.m. EST

— The ties between money and political influence have stirred up conflict in the race for North Carolina governor.

Democratic candidates Richard Moore and Bev Perdue are battling over Moore's proposal to to prohibit members of the state Board of Transportation form making campaign contributions. Moore said the move would limit the influence of the board, which decides where the state Department of Transportation builds roads.

"We're going to start changing the culture in DOT that we're going to start focusing on building roads where they're needed, not just where special interests and politicians want them," said Jay Reiff, Moore's campaign manager.

Although the bold plan won some praise, Gov. Mike Easley criticized it. Instead of limiting influence, he said he thinks it could keep good people from serving.

  • Watch the Republican gubernatorial candidates debate at 7 p.m. Jan. 17 on WRAL-TV and WRAL.com.

Perdue hammered the idea for a different reason.

"I think people should look very closely at the fact that he's making one proposal saying one thing at the same time that he's doing the opposite," said David Kochman, Perdue's campaign spokesman.

Kochman was referring to the hundreds of thousands of dollars Moore, the state treasurer, raised from money managers hired by his office to oversee state pension funds.

"We have listed everyone that has given contributions to this campaign. People can judge the performance of that pension fund about the job that he's doing," Reiff said.

Both Moore and Perdue have accepted contributions from DOT board members over the years. Reiff declined to say whether Moore planned to refund the money.

"What he's saying (about banning contributions) is going forward," Reiff said.