Gov. Perdue recently said that her campaign made a mistake by not reporting 31 flights, which took place over the course of several years. Interestingly enough, these flights were reported around the time that the Easley Campaign began to come under fire for failing to report campaign flights that put donors over their state mandated contribution limits.
Perdue went on to say that Republicans should take a moment to look at their own candidates, implying that everyone should remember that 2008 GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory failed to report two helicopter flights taken in the last days of his campaign. Gov. Perdue is right, both Republicans and Democrats ought to be held to the highest of standards. The public should be outraged that these issues were not brought up until the campaigns felt pressure and thought it a good idea to report their own violations before some authority found them out. It would be nice to have campaign disclosures completed properly and on time.
Furthermore, the State Board of Elections should be held to the highest of standards. If it is illegal to fail to report campaign contributions and expenditures, there must be some mechanism to find and punish those who fail to follow the law. With the Easley, Perdue and McCrory campaigns all having “forgotten” to report campaign flights, among other possible illegal activity, it is apparent that gubernatorial campaigns in North Carolina are unafraid of the punishment mechanisms that the State Board of Elections has in place. Either that is the case or these campaigns do not believe that the board is competent enough to seek out illegal activity that is not explicitly reported.
Campaigns ought to be transparent. That is the only way that the public will know who has attempted to wield influence over our elected leaders through campaign contributions and hold our officials accountable. If the State Board of Elections does not live up to their end of the bargain, electoral transparency and accountability is nothing more than a farce. We cannot rely on campaigns to report their own violations.