Moore answers questions over campaign pay

Published 8:05 pm Friday, January 21, 2011

Staff Writer

A report filed with the State Board of Elections shows the campaign of state Rep. Arthur Williams, D-Beaufort, paid the Rev. David Moore $5,500 last fall.
The campaign also made a $500 donation to Moore’s church, Metropolitan AME Zion Church in Washington.
Williams’ campaign paid Moore $4,000 on Oct. 22, 2010, and $1,500 on Nov. 1, 2010, the report shows.
The payments were listed under operating expenses and earmarked for salaries.
Moore is one of two delegates selected by the Beaufort County Democratic Party’s executive committee to serve on a state Senate District 1 executive committee.
This district committee will meet tonight to name a replacement for retiring state Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare.
Moore has endorsed Williams as a candidate to fill the vacancy that will be left when Basnight resigns Jan. 25. Moore has pledged he will vote for Williams at tonight’s meeting.
The payments were made months before Basnight announced his resignation and also predated Moore’s election as a delegate to the district committee.
Asked to explain the campaign receipts, Moore said Williams’ campaign paid him $5,500 as the coordinator of a get-out-the-vote campaign.
Moore said he didn’t receive the money as a salary, but distributed it to get-out-the-vote workers.
“What (Williams) did is he wrote the check to me because I was coordinating for most of the black precincts,” Moore explained. “And what we normally do is go from precinct to precinct and we’ll have different people there. Their job is to call and make sure that folk have gotten out the vote. They also go by people’s houses, pick them up, take them to vote and take them back home.”
Moore reiterated he was not paid for this work, and, in response to a question, said the money did not compromise his objectivity as a delegate to the district committee.
“I coordinated it. I wasn’t paid for it,” he said of the get-out-the-vote work.
“What we do is we’ll have different individuals and they’re assigned various duties and then we pay them for their work,” he added.
Moore agreed to share documentation of the payments to outside workers. He provided a document that showed the names of the workers who were paid and how much they were paid. Total expenses, including transportation, for the get-out-the-vote drive came to $5,657, according to Moore’s document.
Williams confirmed the money his campaign paid Moore was for a get-out-the-vote operation.
“That’s all legal,” Williams stated.
Asked whether he felt the expenditure would in any way call Moore’s objectivity into question, Williams said, “There’s absolutely no issue there.”
He added that his campaign reports had been checked by the state auditor’s office and had received a clean opinion.
A call to the State Board of Elections wasn’t returned at once Thursday.
“I can account for every penny I’ve ever spent,” Williams said. “It was all recorded.”
Moore aside, John Murphy is one of Beaufort County’s two allotted delegates to the district committee. Murphy said he wasn’t concerned about the campaign expenditure.
“I don’t see it as a concern of mine, as he is a fellow delegate,” Murphy said of Moore. “It doesn’t concern me, no.”
A question emerged about another possible candidate in an e-mail to the Washington Daily News.
The e-mail claimed Dare County Commissioner Virginia Tillett, who had said she would like to replace Basnight, had been involved in something called “Travelgate,” an apparent reference to questions about travel expenses tallied by some Dare County commissioners.
“A local person is questioning the travel and (hotel) rooms and all of that for each of us as commissioners,” Tillett said. “That’s all I know.”
She said that, as far as she knew, there had been no questions of impropriety about her travel expenses.
“I don’t think there is anything to implicate Commissioner Tillett in anything,” said Dare County Manager Bobby Outten.
Outten confirmed officials were revising Dare County’s travel policy “as we speak” Thursday.
“The current policy has ambiguities in it and the goal is to make it clear, not only from the commissioners, but from the public in the future on travel expenses,” he said.
Outten said one commissioner — not Tillett — had paid a $155 registration fee for a conference and had reimbursed the county for that expense. He also said the commissioner reimbursed the county for money spent on gas, which was a permitted expense.
“I don’t think there’s any major scandal going on regarding travel,” he said.
No further information could be obtained Thursday.