Local News

Ad Sparks Another Debate Between State Elections Board, RGA

Posted October 14, 2004 5:45 a.m. EDT

— According to the State Board of Elections, the Republican Governors Association bought more than $300,000 in TV time for a new commercial criticizing Gov. Mike Easley. The ad was supposed to start running Thursday, but the board ruled the ad should not hit the airwaves.

In September, the state elections board ordered the RGA to register as a political action committee because its mission is to get Republican candidates, including Patrick Ballantine, elected.

Since the Washington-based group has not yet registered as a PAC in North Carolina, the board said airing the ad is illegal.

The RGA argues it paid for the ad with noncorporate money and under their current status, it is following new state guidelines. The board said the RGA should follow PAC rules and since it is not, it must cease and desist from doing business.

Thursday's board decision was along party lines with Democrats in the majority. The RGA is hesitant to register as a PAC because it plans to appeal the initial ruling and fine. If the RGA decide to register, the board said, the ad can run.

The RGA has already been fined nearly $200,000 for violating the state's campaign laws.