JLF Triangle Blog

Wondering Why The Mike Easley Campaign Doesn’t Have To Pay The $94,665 Fine?

Yesterday I blogged about former Gov. Mike Easley filing to get his law license back following his guilty plea to a felony related to a campaign finance violation over unreported flights. Easley paid the $1,000 fine imposed on him. His campaign, however, has not paid the remaining $94,665 of the $100,000 fine imposed on it by the state Board of Elections. The News & Observer reported yesterday that the campaign has no intention of paying the $94K. Carolina Journal Managing Editor Rick Henderson reminded me why that’s the case, detailed last year by Don Carrington.

After five days of public hearings in October 2009, the Board of Elections fined the Easley campaign committee $100,000 for failure to report aircraft travel donated by Campbell. The board also asked the Wake County District Attorney’s Office to investigate the possibility that the former governor and others might have violated other laws. ?

A campaign finance report showed that Easley’s campaign committee had $427,706 in cash when he left office in January 2009. Subsequent reports show the committee paid most of that to attorneys.

In March 2010, Easley Committee attorney John Wallace sent a check for $5,335 to the Board of Elections toward the committee’s $100,000 fine. Wallace told the board that the committee had no more funds and it had closed its bank accounts. State law doesn’t make candidates personally responsible for campaign committee fines.

After lengthy state and federal investigations, in November 2010 Easley pleaded guilty in Wake County to a felony campaign finance violation involving the filing of a false report. He was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine but received no active prison time. 


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