Candidate alleges state law violation

Published 6:24 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gary Brinn, a Republican Beaufort County commissioner seeking re-election has amended a complaint he filed earlier this year against Derik Davis, a Republican candidate seeking a seat on the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.

Brinn filed his amended complaint, which centers on campaign finance reports, with the Beaufort County Board of Elections, which forwarded it to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Brinn wants the State Board of Elections to initiate a “formal investigation” into what he alleges are discrepancies related to campaign-related spending and payments by the Davis campaign.

Sheryll Harris, a compliance specialist with the State Board of Elections, is handling the complaint, On Tuesday, Harris emailed Davis a copy of the amended complaint and a notice of complaint.” I can tell you, because of the election, I will try to move this one (investigation) along as quick as I can,” Harris said. “I’ve got to allow them time for response. I’ve allowed him to provide me a response to the complaint by Aug. 12.”

In April, Brinn filed his initial complaint with the Beaufort County Board of Elections, which forwarded it to the State Board of Elections. In the complaint, Davis’ campaign is accused of violating campaign-finance laws. Brinn’s complaint alleges Davis’ campaign did not report expenditures related to paying high school students to distribute campaign literature. Brinn’s complaint contends state law requires political campaigns to report such payments in campaign disclosure reports and identify those receiving such payments. The complaint alleges the Davis campaign’s second-quarter campaign-finance reports show no payments to the students. “The report lists only one payment to Ken Robol and contradicts reports from Pitt Community College and the two major papers here that the Davis campaign paid these students,” reads the complaint.

Brinn contends that published media reports contain information about payments to Robol and high school students not supported by campaign finance reports filed by the Davis campaign.

The March 28 edition of the Washington Daily News reported: “A source familiar with the campaign said they were high school students paid for by the Davis campaign.” The Davis campaign’s first-quarter and second-quarter reports show no payments to the students. The campaign’s second-quarter report shows a “cash/check” payment of $400 to Robol on March 3.

State laws reads: “All expenditures for nonmedia expenses (except postage) of more than fifty dollars ($50.00) shall be made by a verifiable form of payment.”

July 12 was the deadline to submit campaign-spending reports for the second quarter of this year.

“Robol denies being paid,” Brinn said. “The (Davis} campaign report lists a $400 payment to Robol. There’s something wrong with that.”

Davis issued this response: “I’m very proud of the campaign I have run from day one, where a number of Beaufort County citizens, young and old, have helped me. … I would call on Commissioner Brinn to (run on) what he ran on four years ago. You know, he ran on ‘stop the nonsense.’ I believe it’s time for the nonsense to stop. He has a record, and if he’s proud of that record, he should be able to run on that record. That’s what this race should be about.”

Davis continued: “It’s just another chance, another swipe at me, trying to drag me into negativity, and I’m not going to fall for it. I call him to stop the nonsense, run on the issues, and if his record of service is as good as he feels it is, then he should be able to run on that with no problem.”

Attempts to reach Robol, who teaches at PCC, were unsuccessful.

Brinn’s initial complaint alleged the students worked for the Davis campaign prior to Feb. 29. In an interview earlier this year, Davis said payments to students occurred after Feb. 29 and would be included in the second-quarter report.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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