This week Pfizer, Inc. came to an agreement with the State Board of Elections and Ethics enforcement to pay a $40,125 civil penalty related to inappropriate campaign contributions given during legislative sessions in 2016 and 2017.
The episode was one of the largest campaign donation forfeitures in state history. A total of 48 improper donations from the Pfizer Inc. political action committee will be forfeited by political campaigns and committees across the state.
The contributions, totaling $53,500 to 36 different committees, were uncovered in an audit earlier this year. 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 the order imposing the civil penalty, the board notes Pfizer did not admit or deny the board’s findings but agreed to pay the penalty and acknowledged the board’s authority.
Back in May Sharon Castillo, Senior Director of Pfizer’s Media Relations, told Policy Watch the whole incident was a case of bad timing, an unfortunate clerical mistake by an outside vendor.
“The checks were not sent out or received by the campaigns during the blackout period. Rather, they were dated during that time, something that is also precluded by the NC statute. We have never faced a similar situation. We take this matter very seriously, and are addressing the situation to ensure that it does not happen again,” said Castillo.