Politics & Government

State bought lots from firm tied to N.C. lawmaker

RALEIGH — At least four state agencies bought expensive high-tech surveillance gear from a private security firm tied to Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand.

The powerful Fayetteville Democrat has served as board chairman for Raleigh-based Law Enforcement Associates Inc. since 2003.

The state bought at least $192,683 in equipment from LEA during the past five years, including a $2,695 jacket with a hidden camera for undercover stings. In some cases, the purchases were made without seeking competitive bids by agencies led by close associates of Rand who themselves owned LEA stock.

The State Bureau of Investigation was a frequent customer, buying up to $108,321 in video gear and other gadgets since 2006. Records showing purchases in earlier years were not immediately available Friday.

Rand said he was not aware that the government he helps oversee is also a client, but he was not surprised.

"My God, I don't have anything to do with sales," Rand said. "I don't have a clue about that. ... But we are in the business of selling law enforcement equipment. That's what we do. We sell to law enforcement agencies all across the country, and the federal government too."Read this story on newsobserver.com