RALEIGH (By David N. Bass, Carolina Journal Online) - Six witnesses subpoenaed to testify Monday in the North Carolina Board of Elections' probe into former Gov. Mike Easley's campaign finances highlighted slipshod record-keeping of contributions, promises from Easley staffers that money from maxed-out donors would be diverted from Democratic Party coffers to the governor’s campaign, and accounts of services provided to the governor that were not disclosed in a timely manner and not reimbursed, as the law requires.
The testimony ranged from free flights and cars given Easley and his family to furtive contribution schemes that appear to bypass contribution limits. The witnesses, who were under oath, often gave accounts that conflicted with explanations already provided by Easley.
The four-hour hearing sometimes degenerated into a finger-pointing contest. At one point, Easley’s lawyer questioned the honesty of McQueen Campbell, a Raleigh real-estate broker and long-time Easley friend, suggesting that Campbell had lied to the media when he resigned under a cloud as chairman of the N.C. State University board of trustees.
The first day wrapped up in late afternoon with testimony from a developer who said that he donated money to the state Democratic Party with the understanding that it would be funneled to the Easley campaign, possibly bypassing campaign finance limits.