Report: Campaigns did not intend to break law

RALEIGH ABC11 Eyewitness News has learned that all Republican and Democratic candidates for governor in 2004 and 2008 misreported some flights.

Seven months ago, the North Carolina Board of Elections started an investigation into flights taken by gubernatorial candidates.

On Friday, a detailed account was released of how campaign finance laws were broken by every candidate who got on a plane.

The largest section of the report is about Governor Perdue's campaign.

The report highlights 42 flights Perdue didn't disclose or pay for until long after the law required her to do so. The flights total more than $100,000.

Perdue has repeatedly blamed the lapse on a computer glitch, but that reason is not mentioned in the report. Instead, investigators were given reasons like the fast paced nature of the campaign, the lack of staff when the campaign was over and constant turnover of staff.

Its clear laws were broken, but Board of Elections Executive Director Gary Bartlett says the investigation didn't answer why.

"I just think that it was lack of attention to details and not keeping up with book keeping," he said. "Doesn't that seem like a lot of flights to be 'lack of attention to detail? This is over a period of a few years, but yes, I think that there's a problem here, and hopefully that problem is resolved."

Perdue critic, Tom Fetzer, chairman of the state GOP, says that explanation isn't good enough.

"For (Gary Bartlett) to say that he didn't think the (Perdue campaign) attempted to do anything wrong is a naked attempt on his part to try to exonerate the (Perdue campaign)," he said. "It's very clear that they were misleading the public and the Board of Elections about those flights."

Bartlett says they found no evidence that any of the candidates, including Perdue, intentionally lied.

Right now, it's unclear if the board will impose major penalties or any penalties on the candidates or their campaigns.

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