Many political appointees would be required to report their fundraising activities under a bill approved Wednesday by the House. The bill would expand who must report fundraising and also close a loophole that applied to reporting required of the Board of Transportation. Members of that board were previously required to list their activities, but some appointees under former Gov. Mike Easley used a legal opinion to hide their fundraising activities. Board members, including former member Louis Sewell of Jacksonville, had reported doing no such activities despite being a big fundraiser in Easley's 2000 campaign.
Easley had obtained an attorney general's opinion that said fundraisers did not have to disclose their efforts unless they personally accepted contributions from individuals. That meant that typical fundraising activities such as holding receptions and soliciting people for contributions were not considered fundraising. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, seeks to change that. It defines fundraising as "the receiving and forwarding of a contribution, or the activity that results in an individual receiving, directly or indirectly, written acknowledgment from a contributor or recipient of the contribution, or from the agent of that contributor or recipient, that the individual is responsible for a contribution."The bill would require disclosure by appointees to the governor's cabinet, state Supreme Court, the state Court of Appeals, Superior and District court judgeships and to several boards and commissions.(THE NEWS & OBSERVER, 5/06/09).