Well, what went on in Raleigh yesterday in the State Board of Elections hearing was high political drama – the fireworks started right off when Easley buddy McQueen Campbell fessed up he’d paid for $11,000 in repairs on Easley’s house in Raleigh, then sent Easley’s campaign a fake bill for the $11,000 – which the campaign paid. Then the insurance company reimbursed Easley, personally, $5,400.
The next point is just plain tacky: Here’s what Campbell said he repaired – the roof, trimming the trees, water damage, washing sidewalks and cleaning dog feces from a bedroom and closet.
The Governor’s also trying to explain taking $101,000 in free airplane flights from Campbell, free dues at a posh country club, a $137,000 discount on a beach front lot from a developer, free cars and how he created a job for his wife at NCSU that paid her $175,000 a year.
And what did all these folks get in return from Easley?
Here’s one example: Last time Easley was running for reelection, Wilmington developer Lanny Wilson wrote Easley’s campaign money-raiser a five point memo about how to get a big donation from Wilson’s partner. Here’s quid pro quo: Easley reappointed Wilson’s partner to the State Wildlife Commission and Wilson’s partner got a state permit to build a boat ramp at a subdivision. Then Wilson’s partner wrote a check to the Democratic Party for $50,000 to re-elect Easley – and Easley got a $137,000 ‘discount’ on one of Wilson’s partner’s beach front lots.
Meantime Easley’s legal counsel (from back when he was Governor), Ruffin Poole, who master-minded the scheme to end run election laws by getting big donors to funnel money into Easley’s campaign through the Democratic Party, has stiff-armed the Board of Elections by refusing to testify, saying Easley’s protected by Attorney-client privilege and his lips are sealed. Meanwhile, his client, Governor Easley says he’d be delighted for Poole to testify.
“The Governor’s not concerned other than getting these issues resolved and moving on,” Easley’s spokesman says.
So why isn’t Poole testifying? Maybe the Board will ask Easley that when he takes the stand Wednesday.