Local Politics

GOP calls for probe of Perdue's campaign finances

Posted December 14, 2009 11:26 a.m. EST

— North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer on Monday called for a state probe of Gov. Beverly Perdue's campaign  finances.

Perdue's campaign committee recently reported six flights aboard private aircraft as far back as 2004 on amended finance reports. Officials said the previously unreported flights were found as part of an audit of records following a switch to new software.

Five of the flights, totaling $1,703, were treated as in-kind contributions, and the campaign committee reimbursed a law firm for a 2006 flight valued at $475.

In July, Perdue's campaign committee reimbursed plane owners for 17 flights, totaling more than $18,700.

Fetzer said he wants the State Board of Elections to look at Perdue's flights aboard private aircraft during her campaigns, comparing them to flights taken by former Gov. Mike Easley.

"What Gov. Perdue has been doing since she's been governor – and even before she was governor – is exactly the same thing and involving some of the same people that Gov. Easley was investigated for," he said.

Following an October hearing into alleged campaign finance violations by Easley, the elections board ordered Easley's campaign to forfeit $60,000 for plane trips he took on private planes that were never noted on campaign finance reports. A $40,000 fine was levied against the campaign committee to pay for the cost of the state investigation into the matter.

The board also turned its findings over to prosecutors to determine whether Easley should face any criminal charges in the case. A decision is expected by February.

There was no immediate reaction from Perdue's office to Fetzer's request for an investigation. Last week, she said she thinks her campaign should be credited for reporting the flights and amending earlier campaign finance reports.