Watauga Republican Committee Fined over $14,000


The Appalachian Online

Ben Sessoms

The N.C. State Board of Elections fined the Watauga Republican Committee $14,159.20 for violations of N.C. general statutes on the committee’s budget according to a notice sent on Sep. 22.

The audit found a wide range of violations between 2009 and 2016.

The general statute, G.S. 163-278.34(b), which resulted in the fine states: “If an individual, person, political committee, referendum committee, candidate, or other entity intentionally makes or accepts a contribution or makes an unlawful expenditure in violation of this Article, then that entity shall pay to the State Board of Elections, in an amount to be determined by that Board, a civil penalty and the costs of investigation, assessment, and collection.”

G.S. 163-278.14(b), which states that “no entity shall make, and no candidate, committee or treasurer shall accept, any monetary contribution in excess of $50” unless that contribution is made in verifiable form and not cash, was also violated.

Several contributions over $50 labeled as cash, in violation of state law, were made between 2009 and 2014.

A different statute, which states that media expenses be paid in verifiable form, was violated in the 2012-13 fiscal year when a payment of $921 labeled as cash was given to the High Country Radio.

Laws were also violated by several transactions that failed to identify the address or the occupation of the contributor or the address of payments made to vendors.

The committee must pay the fine in full or contest it within 30 days.