Local News

Par for the Course?\

Posted June 9, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— While you were at work today, many of your state lawmakers were hitting the links, raising money for political campaigns and the like. Local lobbyists put up big bucks to putt around on the golf course with our representatives.

It's all perfectly legal. For the right price, you could hit a few balls with North Carolina Democratic lawmakers at Raleigh Country Club, or you could play a few holes with Republican lawmakers at MacGregor Downs Country Club in Cary.

You could sponsor a hole at the Democratic tournament for $2,500. At the Republican tournament, you could do the same for $900. But, do those big price tags also buy you influence with the State Legislature's big hitters? According to the North Carolina Democratic Party's Gail Nardi, absolutely not.

Nash County Republican Representative Gene Arnold says that the fairway fundraisers amount to nothing more than getting something for your money..

The Common Sense Foundation says that the golf fundraisers only add up to big problems. Activist Chris Fitzsimon says that although there's nothing illegal about teeing off for cash, there are plenty of ethical problems with which to deal.

Common Sense and other watchdog groups are trying to get golf fundraisers out of politics. They are pushing to eliminate the events as a part of proposed campaign reform. Right now, campaign finance reform proposals have not made it out of committees in either house of the Legislature.