Former State Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican (Photo: NCGA)
2018 was a bad year for Rep. David Lewis. 2020 looks to be worse.
The federal government today alleged that State Rep. David Lewis with failure to file a tax return, making false statements to a bank and illegally funneling campaign money for personal use. He was charged with criminal felonies, according to court records.
Lewis, a Republican who had represented Harnett County in the House since 2002, also resigned his legislative seat today.
The first criminal allegation against Lewis centers on two bank accounts in which he illegally funneled campaign money to a personal account under a fake name.
According to court documents, on July 31, 2018, Lewis opened a campaign account, which he later used to make legal contributions to the state Republican Party. However, that day he had his campaign treasurer cut a check for $50,000, payable to “NCGOP.”
But the next day on Aug. 1, 2018, Lewis opened a second account at a different bank, under the name “NC GOP, Inc.” He allegedly lied to the bank that NC GOP, Inc. was a certified legal entity registered with the NC Secretary of State, and that he was the president of the organization. But no such organization existed.
Instead of sending the $50,000 check payable to “NCGOP” to the actual state Republican Party, he allegedly deposited it in his own NC GOP, Inc. account.
The same day Lewis wrote a $47,600 check from the NC GOP, Inc, account payable to Lewis Farms, his primary business. He also wrote a check for $2,050, payable to the landlord of his residence, according to court documents.
Two weeks later, Lewis allegedly used the same ruse — paying money from his campaign to his personal account NC GOP, Inc., while reporting it on his campaign finance reports as a contribution to the state Republican Party. This time, though, he used a cashier’s check, worth $15,000. That money went to yet a third bank account for Lewis Farms.
Later, Lewis actually made contributions to the state GOP for $50,000 and $15,000 from his personal accounts, which could have been an attempt to appear to comply with campaign finance law.
Lewis also allegedly failed to pay his federal taxes on farm income generated in 2018. His gross income that year was at least $84,200, court records say.
If convicted, Lewis could be forced to forfeit “property derived from proceeds traceable to the offense.” That would include a fine equivalent to the amount of his back taxes, but the there could be additional penalties.
His attorney filed a plea agreement today, but the document is not public.