Some of the biggest names in North Carolina politics have yet to forfeit improper campaign donations from a pharmaceutical giant.
Last week, Policy Watch reported the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement was forcing 36 different campaign committees to return improper donations from the Pfizer Inc. political action committee.
The 48 contributions, totaling $53,500, were uncovered in a recent audit and constitute one of the largest campaign donation forfeitures in state history. They came on June 21, 2016 and October 16 2017 — both days when the General Assembly was in session. Under state law, contributions are prohibited during legislative sessions.
In an April letter from the board, Pfizer and the campaigns were made aware that the contributions must be turned over to the N.C. Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund. Pfizer told Policy Watch an outside vendor was responsible for the mistake and that the checks were cut on those days but not delivered until later.
This updated spreadsheet shows that most of the committees have already forfeited the money, with those who have forfeited highlighted in orange. But some of the state’s largest political names have not.
Cooper for North Carolina, the committee of Gov. Roy Cooper, has yet to forfeit a $5,000 donation. The Josh Stein for Attorney General committee has also failed to forfeit $5,000.
The committees of state House speaker Time Moore and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger – both GOP leaders – have each yet to return two donations – one for $1,500 and one for $2,000.