Butterfield’s resignation demanded

Published 1:45 pm Thursday, September 2, 2010

Staff Writer

Staff Writer
The Republican candidate in the 1st Congressional District has called for the resignation of his Democratic opponent.
This call followed reports the incumbent, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., of Wilson pocketed some travel money left over from official trips.
Citing a Wall Street Journal story about a congressional investigation into per-diem pay for members of Congress, GOP candidate Ashley Woolard of Washington said Butterfield should step down.
“G.K. Butterfield has accepted political bribes, and now we know that he has embezzled taxpayers’ money,” Woolard told the Washington Daily News. “For the good of eastern North Carolina and the United States of America, I hereby call on G.K. Butterfield to resign from the United States Congress. The restoration of our country has started.”
Butterfield’s Washington, D.C., office released a statement Wednesday.
“The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) contacted me seeking information related to per diem used on a Congressional delegation trip,” the congressman was quoted as saying. “I informed OCE that the funds were spent on legitimate travel expenses and that if any funds went unspent, they were nominal. I also informed OCE that I had received a per diem on the trip but did not maintain detailed records, because it is not required.
“While State Department guidelines do not require detailed accounting, the OCE apparently does not share that opinion and has forwarded the matter to the Ethics Committee. I have complied with the requests of OCE and will comply with any other request from the Ethics Committee.”
Butterfield serves on the House ethics committee.
Butterfield represents all or portions of 23 counties in northeast North Carolina, including around half of Beaufort County.
The Daily News placed calls seeking more information about per-diem pay from the U.S. House clerk’s office. Those calls were not immediately returned Wednesday.
In a news release, Woolard referenced former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance, D-N.C., of Warrenton.
In 2004, Butterfield replaced Ballance, who went to prison for funneling public money through a nonprofit group for the personal benefit of friends and family.
Butterfield has not been charged with a crime.
“Former First District Congressman Frank Ballance was convicted and went to federal prison for laundering taxpayer monies into his pocket and we now see GK Butterfield is just more of the same,” Woolard was quoted as saying in the release.
Alice Mills Sadler, chairwoman of the Beaufort County Democratic Party, said she had asked Butterfield to address some of these issues during scheduled remarks to the party’s executive committee on Sept. 11 in Washington.
Butterfield also will talk about constituent services, Sadler said.
She declined to say which issues she had spoken with Butterfield about, adding that he should respond to those concerns personally.
“I asked him did we have reason to be seriously concerned other than the paranoia that the stories generate,” Sadler said. “And he said, ‘No,’ and I take his word at that.”
Sadler said Butterfield should not resign.
“I have no reason not to have confidence in him based on the information I have now,” she commented. “Let’s find out from him what he has to say. I believe we need to hear from him.”