Wilson was appointed to the board by former NC Governor Mike Easley and testified about alleged campaign finance violations at Easley's campaign before the State Board of Elections last year.
Wilson said the Easley campaign encouraged him to contribute to a Democratic Party fund even after he had reached the maximum allowable individual donation limit for the campaign. Wilson says he was told the donations were legal and that money from the fund would go to pay Easley campaign expenses.
North Carolina campaign law says contributions can't be given to a party for exclusive use by a single candidate. The North Carolina Democratic Party has denied it ever had a special fund for Easley.
Wilson is also linked to a land deal in Carteret County where Easley purchased a development lot for less than the then market price. That is part of a federal grand jury investigation that's looking into Easley's dealings while in office.
"After much consideration and thought, I am stepping down to avoid any further unnecessary distractions that would only serve to impede the progress of your reform efforts with the Board and Department of Transportation," Wilson wrote to Governor Perdue.
Republicans used Wilson's decision to take aim at the current governor.
“I am glad that Lanny Wilson has chosen to do the right thing by resigning to avoid any further distraction to DOT and the board in doing the job of preparing North Carolina’s infrastructure for the future. However, Governor Perdue should have stepped in long ago to ensure that any hint of corruption was blotted out from the DOT board. We need more than words from the Governor on ending political corruption,” offered Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham).