The N.C. State Board of Elections voted 4 to 1 this afternoon to fine Gov. Bev Perdue’s campaign committee a total of $30,000 for failure to report certain air travel expenses in a timely manner, concluding that the failure to file was “not intentional wrongdoing.”
The fine is the maximum allowed, $10,000 per reporting cycle. The motion also included entering into agreement with the Perdue committee for training on future airplane reporting.
The decision followed a lengthy closed session discussion, and rejected a call by the chairman of the state Republican Party, Tom Fetzer, to institute public hearings on the issue. Fetzer had also called for SBOE Chair Larry Leake and Executive Director Gary Bartlett to recuse themselves from such hearings—drew a strong response from Leake in the morning session held at Asheville’s Renaissance Hotel.
Leake, who lives in Mars Hill, defended his own actions as well as those of Bartlett in the board’s investigation of some 22 flights that were not correctly reported during the governor’s campaign. “Facilitating and participating in an investigation,” said Leake, “is not a cover-up procedure. This office is not going to be intimidated.”
Following an amendment offered by Republican board member Charles Winfree to raise the fine to $75,000, which failed on a party-line, 3 to 2 vote, the board voted 4 to 1 to approve the original motion, offered by Robert Cordle, Democratic member. Republican member Bill Peaslee was the lone opponent.
Next up for the board’s review: hearing the Buncombe County District 28 Superior Court arguments regarding the ballot format for judgeships.