Elections panel reviews campaignPublished 11:38pm Tuesday, August 14, 2012
RALEIGH (AP) — The State Board of Elections likely will use a less severe method to consider campaign finance accusations made by North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin against his November Republican challenger Mike Causey, a top board official says.
Allegations against Causey likely will be resolved through administrative action, rather than getting the full board more involved in the probe, elections executive director Gary Bartlett told The News & Observer of Raleigh. Bartlett said this week details had not been finalized and declined to comment further.
The actual board has held public hearings in recent years to investigate serious campaign finance allegations by other candidates or campaigns, which have ended with large fines, a referral to a district attorney for potential criminal charges, or both.
Goodwin, a Democrat seeking re-election this fall, wrote to Bartlett last month alleging campaign rules were violated when Causey failed to file campaign reports electronically and when campaign ads ran in a trade magazine. He also alleged Causey’s campaign may have run a raffle to help him in violation of state law governing nonprofits, but Causey said it didn’t occur.
Causey, responding to Goodwin’s letter, told Bartlett that no laws were violated knowingly and all expenditures were reported properly. But Causey acknowledged he failed to report a $1,020 in-kind contribution for the ads to Collision Expert, a Charlotte-based trade publication for auto body shops.
The publication owner, John Ogden, said in an interview he erred by failing to place “paid for” disclaimers on the political ads for Causey and the need to provide the campaign with a receipt for financial reporting. The ads were copied from another source as a favor to Causey, Ogden said.
Causey said his reports were filed on time but acknowledged a brief lapse on filing a report electronically, which is required once a candidate receives $5,000 or more.
As for the raffle, Causey denied a raffle occurred June 23 in Cary, as Goodwin’s letter suggested. Goodwin pointed to Facebook posts talking about raffle ticket.