Local Politics

Perdue campaign surrenders questionable employee donations

Posted March 19, 2010 3:26 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Beverly Perdue's campaign on Friday surrendered $48,000 in donations from her 2008 gubernatorial campaign to state elections officials, saying they believe the donations were illegal.

Campaign treasurer Oscar Harris said in a letter to the State Board of Elections that campaign officials believe Atlantic Corp., a Wilmington-based packaging company, reimbursed employees for the donations.

"While we are unable to make a firm factual determination that this was the case, we have chosen to divest ourselves of these funds in order to address our concerns and doubts," Harris wrote.

Companies are prohibited from donating to political candidates, and individuals cannot give more than $4,000 to a particular candidate in a single election. The questionable donations came from 12 people, who each gave the maximum allowable amount to the Perdue campaign, according to Harris' letter.

In recent months, Perdue's campaign also has reported to elections officials 31 campaign flights aboard donors' planes between 2000 and 2006 that had never been reported previously. The value of the flights totaled more than $25,000, and some were listed on amended campaign finance reports as in-kind contributions, while the campaign reimbursed other donors for the flights they provided.

Elections officials are looking at Perdue's campaign to determine whether any violations occurred, and they have asked all gubernatorial candidates from 2004 and 2008 to review their records for any unreported campaign flights.