We already know that the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) leadership has recently lurched further to the left politically and does not represent the ideological diversity of its members. We also know that the radicalization of the NCAE has been accompanied by a decline in membership that, in turn, fuels further radicalization.
What did not know until recently is that, according to NC State Board of Elections (SBE) records, the NCAE’s political action committee (NCAE PAC) has broken state election law.
The law in question is GS 163-278.13, which states that “no individual, political committee, or other entity shall contribute to any candidate or other political committee any money or make any other contribution in any election in excess of” $5,400 per election in the 2020 election cycle (the amount in any particular election can change with inflation). Elections here include both primaries and general elections, so individuals or organizations can contribute $5,400 in the primary and another $5,400 for the general election for a total of $10,800 during the 2020 election cycle. If a candidate has a second (runoff) primary, then that total per cycle rises to $16,200 for the 2020 election cycle.
According to the 2nd quarter, 2020 disclosure report filed by the NCAE PAC, they have exceeded the legal limit on campaign contributions to two candidates: NC Sen. Dan Blue and Gov. Roy Cooper.
(The SBE does not list the name of the PAC on the page listing its contributions. To confirm that the report is that of the NCAE PAC, you can go to the NCAE PAC 2nd quarter report page and click on “HTML VIEW” in the “Detailed Expenditures” row.
The NCAE PAC reported making a total of $12,600.00 in contributions to Citizens for Dan Blue as of February 26, 2020. Since Dan Blue did not face a runoff election in the 2020 election cycle, the maximum cumulative amount the NCAE PAC could legally contribute to Citizens for Dan Blue is $10,800. Blue is the NC Senate minority leader and would be a power figure if Democrats win control of the state senate in November.
The excessive donations to Cooper’s campaign are a little odder. According to the NCAE PAC report, they had made a total of $6,400 in contributions to Cooper for North Carolina (Cooper’s campaign) as of February 25, 2020. Then, on February 26, they made a $5,400 contribution to Roy Cooper for Attorney General. Cooper last ran for attorney general in 2012.
It is important to note here that Cooper for Attorney General and Cooper for North Carolina are legally the same candidate committee. The Cooper campaign last filed a statement of organization under the name “Cooper for Attorney General” in January of 2013. In September of the same year, they filed a statement of organization under the name “Cooper for North Carolina.” However, under both names, the committee ID number remained the same: STA-C0498N-C-002, so a check written to either name would go to the same organization.
So, according to the NCAE PAC’s 2nd quarter, 2020 disclosure report, they donated a total of $11,800 to Cooper’s candidate committee during the 2020 election cycle, which is is more than the $10,800 legal limit.
Cleary there has been incompetence over at the NCAE PAC. What we don’t know is if their error is writing something that they were not supposed to write or failing to cover up something they wanted to cover up.
I filed a campaign finance complaint with the SBE today and hope that they will be able to get to the bottom of this soon.