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Fri, Oct 30, 2009

Former NC Governor Easley Claims Aircraft Invoices Were Not False

Says Billings For Flights With A Friend Were Legitimate

The former Governor of North Carolina testified before the State Board of Elections that invoices filed by a political ally for flights on private aircraft had nothing to do with getting a break on repairs for his home in Raleigh.

Mike Easley

Mike Easley directly disputed the sworn comments made by McQueen Campbell earlier this week. Campbell is a long-time Easley friend whom Easley appointed to the N.C. State University board of trustees.

Television Station WRAL reports that the board is investigating the possibility that Easley's campaign or the state Democratic party violated campaign finance laws.

In his testimony, Campbell said Easley suggested he bill the state for airplane flights he gave the then-Governor to pay for repairs Campbell made on Easley's home. Campbell said two such invoices were false, which would violate campaign laws. But Easley denied having made such a suggestion to Campbell.

Easley, who left office in January, said he told Campbell in 2005 to pre-bill for flights he anticipated using, which is not illegal under North Carolina law.

Easley did say he had asked Campbell to have repairs made on his home in Raleigh, which he rented out while he occupied the Governor's mansion. The home suffered water damage, but Easley said he thought Campbell would bill the real estate company that was managing the property.

The station reports that Campbell testified he had flown Easley in his plane many times from 1999 to 2004, and that those flights were never reported by the campaign committee. Campbell says those flights were worth almost $88,000. Easley testified that Campbell had been "paid in full" for those flights.

Easley has been under a cloud since leaving office in January after 8 years as Governor. He is the first Governor to be called to testify before the elections board.

FMI: www.sboe.state.nc.us

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