The unanimous decision by the State Board of Elections to turn over the investigation of Sen. Fletcher Hartsell’s campaign finances to state and federal prosecutors came after a three year probe by board officials.
The WRAL story about the case provides the reason why the case took so long and what the investigations are so rare.
As detailed by Strach, Hartsell’s reports had never been audited by the state board since he first ran, which left years and years of unusual expenditures unchallenged. The state board is supposed to audit all reports after every campaign cycle, but it does not have the manpower to do so, Strach said.
That’s right. The General Assembly has failed to provide the funding for the State Board of Elections to do the checks on politicians’ campaign finances that the law requires them to do.
And in case you are wondering, the budget the Senate is approving this week makes another two percent CUT in funding for the board.
That’s probably just a coincidence—state lawmakers starving the agency for funds that the public relies on to make sure the same politicians are not playing any games with the millions of dollars they raise for their campaigns.