Local Politics

GOP has questions about Perdue's finances

Posted October 15, 2009 12:21 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2009 11:27 p.m. EDT

The North Carolina Republican Party asked the State Board of Elections to look into fundraising by the governor, a Democrat. Republican Party chair Tom Fetzer filed the complaint Thursday afternoon on behalf of himself and his party.

Perdue’s campaign amended reports to the board in August, adding contributions it failed to count during last year’s gubernatorial campaign.

“We proactively fixed the problems to assure that everything was reported properly and everything was paid for properly,” Perdue campaign spokesman Marc Farinella said.

In the August report, the Perdue campaign came forward about 17 flights provided to then-candidate Perdue by private businesspeople. The campaign discovered the oversight as it balanced the books after a software glitch, Farinella said.

Fetzer senses something more. He asked the State Board to Elections investigate whether Perdue and her contributors knowingly skirted campaign finance laws.

North Carolina's ethics laws require the disclosure of gifts over $200. State elections laws also prevent corporations from donating to campaigns and limit individuals to $4,000 in contributions to a candidate in a single election. Candidates must pay for private flights or must report the value of the flight as a campaign contribution.

Perdue’s predecessor, Mike Easley, faces a hearing before the State Board of Elections beginning Oct. 26 for similar questionable campaign practices. A federal grand jury is also looking at Easley's dealings with friends and contributors while in office, including his use of private planes.

“If the state board is pursuing an investigation of Gov. Easley and not pursuing an investigation of Perdue on exactly the same behavior, then somebody needs to look into that,” Fetzer said.

“We're very comfortable in the way we've handled this,” Farinella said. “We think Fetzer is trying to make an issue where none exists.”

Fetzer's Democratic counterpart, Andrew Whalen, issued this statement on behalf of his party organization: "The partisan allegations made today by the Republican Party are completely without merit. They are nothing more than the same, tired political games we’ve come to expect from them."