Local Politics

Easley campaign insolvent

Posted March 17, 2010 7:07 p.m. EDT
Updated March 18, 2010 9:20 a.m. EDT

— Former Gov. Mike Easley's campaign committee is officially broke, increasing the likelihood that state elections officials won't collect the majority of a $100,000 penalty levied last fall for campaign finance violations.

The Mike Easley Committee on Tuesday gave a check for $5,335 to the State Board of Elections, and Treasurer Joseph Newsome said in a letter to the board that both of the campaign's bank accounts have been emptied and closed.

The elections board in October determined the campaign had violated state law by not reporting dozens of flights major donors provided to Easley during the 2000 and 2004 campaigns. The board turned over its findings to prosecutors to determine whether Easley should face criminal charges.

Board Chairman Larry Leake said at the time that state law needs to hold politicians accountable for paying campaign finance penalties since the campaigns themselves usually don't have the money to pay.

The unreported flights also are part of an ongoing federal grand jury investigations into Easley's dealings with friends and contributors while in office.

The grand jury indicted former Easley aide Ruffin Poole in January on 51 corruption charges, including extortion, bribery and money laundering.