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Five McCrory donors referred to Mecklenburg District Attorney

Posted April 27, 2012 1:47 p.m. EDT
Updated April 29, 2012 11:06 a.m. EDT

— The State Board of Elections on Friday asked the Mecklenburg County district attorney to consider prosecuting five donors who gave money to Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory's campaign.

Kenneth Gill, president of CPI Security, may have reimbursed three family members and one employee for contributions to the McCrory campaign, according to a briefing elections investigator Kim Strach gave to board members Friday morning. Such action is described as giving in the name of another and is illegal under North Carolina law.

"One of the employees of CPI said that he was reimbursed for a contribution that he made to the McCrory campaign," Strach told the board. The employee in question was identified as Barry Rossen.

In addition to Gill, his wife, Malinda, and two grown daughters, Kristen and Ashley, were also referred for prosecution. 

It will be up to Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray whether charges will be brought. 

Murray was not immediately available for comment.

“After years of review of a partisan complaint from the 2008 election cycle, the Elections Board has advised the McCrory campaign that it has been cleared of any wrongdoing whatsoever," McCrory spokesman Brian Nick. 

Elections board Chairman Larry Leak refused to make copies of the board's finding public, citing the fact that there is an ongoing investigation. 

Hart Miles, a lawyer for Kenneth Gill, would not comment on whether the specific allegations were accurate. 

"We've already reached out to Andrew Murray's office and provided them with documentation so they can do a thorough evaluation of the situation," Miles said. 

The state's investigation was sparked by a 2010 complaint filed by Andrew Whalen, who was then executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

That complaint identified seven groups of contributors that Whalen alleged may have improperly bundled contributions to McCrory. 

In December 2011, Elections Director Gary Bartlett described that investigation as  "95 percent complete" and said at the time it had turned up no evidence of wrongdoing.

Whalen said Friday that he wasn't surprised that the board eventually found what might be wrongdoing.

"I'm curious as to what other illegalities there are in McCrory's fundraising," Whalen said. "It begs for a more in depth look into who is giving to him." 

Campaign finance data from the State Board of Elections shows Rossen made at least two $2,000 contributions to McCrory in 2008. Campaign records also show all four Gills making donations to McCrory's campaign in 2008 or 2011.