RALEIGH – An audit conducted by the N.C. State Board of Elections found that Pfizer, the giant pharmaceutical company, made tens of thousands of illegal campaign contributions to members of both parties in North Carolina in 2016 and 2017.
The contributions were spread far and wide across pols with power, with a few of the biggest chunks going to Democrats Gov. Roy Cooper and A.G. Josh Stein. While the size of the contributions were below limits, the timing – during legislative session – is what makes them illegal.
“The contributions, totaling $53,500 to 36 different committees, were uncovered in a recent audit by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. They came on June 21, 2016 and October 16 2017 — both days when the General Assembly was in session. Under state law, contributions are prohibited during legislative sessions.
Auditors noticed improper donations to several candidate committees on the two dates, Gannon said, which led to a look at all Pfizer contributions. As it turned out, a majority of the donations from the pharmaceutical conglomerate’s PAC to North Carolina campaigns in both 2016 and 2017 were given on prohibited days. The prohibited donations totaled $20,000 in 2016 and $33,500 in 2017.
The campaigns of Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein, both Democrats, each received $5,000 in 2017 — just shy of the $5,200 maximum contribution. Pfizer Inc. PAC records show a donation of $3,500 to Cooper’s Republican opponent, former Gov. Pat McCrory for the 2015-2016 period. The McCrory donation does not appear on the list of those that occurred on prohibited days.
The campaigns of Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, both Republicans, each received $1,500 in 2016 and $2,000 in 2017.
“Most PACs of this [size] give to both parties and most favor incumbents,” Barber said. “It’s also very common to see that the further up you go in the legislature, if you’re a committee chairperson or you’re part of the leadership, there’s the expectation you’ll be favored more than your average lawmaker.””
Whoops. Guess that happens when government has so much influence that big corporations geared toward cronyism make it rain on those in power as much as possible.
Read more here.
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