Politics & Government

N. C. Dems pay $24,000 fine over gifts that went to Easley

North Carolina's Democratic Party on Thursday forfeited more than $24,000 to the state Board of Elections to "address and resolve" concerns regarding donations of flights and gifts in the 2004 campaign made to the party but that apparently were not for the party.

The party's chairman, David Young, said party officials had believed that the seven donations of flights and gifts were for the party, but that there are now questions about that.

Records have shown that some of the flights in question were provided by businessmen to take the Gov. Mike Easley to or from fundraisers.

State elections chairman Larry Leake said a criminal investigation of the Easley campaign is ongoing and that the campaign and governor are cooperating fully.

Young said in a letter to Leake, "We do not know that these contributions were improper, and until questions were recently raised, had no reason whatsoever to believe that they might be improper."

Leake said the payment from the party represents a "penalty" for contributions the party had listed as getting but for which it likely did not receive the benefit.

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