Local Politics

Judge slashes state fine against former lobbyist

Posted November 22, 2010 11:55 a.m. EST

— A judge ordered Monday that a $111,000 fine that the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office levied last year against Don Beason, once a high-profile lobbyist, be reduced to $6,000.

The Secretary of State's Office alleged that Beason and his son, Mark Beason, lobbied state lawmakers on behalf of unregistered companies.

Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. determined that the Beasons worked on behalf of the Engineering Export Promotion Council, an Indian-based organization, to amend a state law that prohibited imported iron and steel to be used on state highway projects.

According to Morrison's ruling, a New Jersey-based iron and steel importer, Sigma Corp., served as a front for the Indian organization, and several other manufacturers helped pay for the Beasons' lobbying expenses.

Don Beason also told Sigma to backdate its authorization for his firm to lobby for them to Feb. 1, 2007, even though it wasn't filed with the state until May 14, 2007, according to Morrison's ruling.

Morrison upheld the $6,000 fine against Mark Beason in the case.

Don Beason gave up his lobbying practice in August 2007 after investigators linked him to a $500,000 loan to former House Speaker Jim Black. The loan, which was routed through Black's campaign account, came to light as Black was sentenced on state corruption charges stemming from illegal cash payments he received from chiropractors.