GOP calls for state BOE leaders' resignations

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June 28, 2010 8:26:35 PM PDT
On Monday morning the state's Republican Party called for the resignation of both the North Carolina Board of Elections Chairman and its Executive Director.

It comes on the heels of a report put out Friday into campaign flights taken by Governor Bev Perdue and other candidates.

The report details 42 flights Governor Perdue took as a candidate and did not pay for or report until long after the state law required her to.

It includes, essentially, a timeline of the state Board of Elections' investigation into those flights. The investigation was called for last October, but begun in January.

State Republicans, led by GOP Chair Tom Fetzer, say the timeline shows a pattern of disregard for state law and at least strongly suggests that the Board of Elections, an independent body, took steps to thwart their own investigators to buy Governor Perdue time to self-report flights that were in violation of state law.

They say Larry Leake, the chairman of the Board of Elections and Garry Bartlett, the executive director, were in collusion with the Perdue committee to cover up campaign flights.

"Governor Perdue and her committee didn't acknowledge the flights at all until their 2009 mid-year semi-annual report in July 2009," Fetzer said.

Perdue committee advisor Marc Farinella acknowledged the delay on Monday to ABC11 Eyewitness News and blamed it on a general sloppiness within the Perdue campaign.

"The problem was there was no adequate process to deal with that information and to make sure it got into the right hands of people in the campaign who were responsible for the reporting and tracking," he said.

It is an explanation Fetzer and the GOP say they aren't buying.

"What we have here is the Governor Perdue campaign knowingly and willfully failing to disclose contributions as required by law and then engaging in lies in an attempt to cover up," Fetzer said.

In the report, investigators say there was a form Perdue's staff used to track flights going back to 2005.

Ferinella says there was a form, but says it wasn't used consistently.

"There absolutely was a form and there was an effort to gather this info but the process was not comprehensive, it was not satisfactory," he said. "It didn't do the job and as a result, lots of information fell through the cracks and never got properly reported or dealt with."

In the meantime, the GOP is also calling for an independent investigation by the Wake County district attorney.

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