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State Republican Leaders are not in Hog Heaven

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RALEIGH — Several people in the hog industry accused Republican leaders of pushing through a two-year hog farm moratorium last year in retaliation for not getting $200,000 in campaign contributions.

The lawmakers deny the allegations, and testimony given Thursday in Raleigh helped their cause.

North Carolina's hog industry has a muddy memory of what was promised in exchange for campaign contributions to House Republican leaders. This statement came from the man almost arrested for failing to appear in front of a Board of Elections hearing.

Doug Boykin said that his absence from day one of the hearing was a misunderstanding.

The Republican fundraiser said that it was also a misunderstanding that House Speaker Harold Brubaker promised no more hog regulations in exchange for campaign contributions when he met with top hog producers in 1996.

"This was supposed to be a pep rally, and I think it was done in an appropriate way," Boykin said. "Nothing that I heard was inappropriate and if it was I would have interjected."

Boykin's testimony was helped by earlier comments from Sonny Faison. The hog industry employee attended the meeting where Brubaker allegedly discussed a deal involving campaign contributions and blocking a hog farm moratorium.

In the past two days, roughly a half dozen people in the hog industry have testified about a deal with Brubaker, quoting Sonny Faison, but when it came time for Faison to testify, his memory was a little cloudy.

"I didn't recall him saying verbatim there'll be no more hog regulations, Faison said. "That's exactly the meaning I took from whatever he said. That's what I remember, not the exact words."

If the Board of Elections finds the allegations have substance, the information may be turned over to the district attorney for possible criminal charges. The board hopes to conclude the hearing Friday.

House Speaker Brubaker is expected to testify on the last day.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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