Davis campaign will forfeit $350 to statewide fund

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Derik Davis’ campaign for a seat on the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners made a “prohibited expenditure” that will result in the campaign forfeiting money to a state fund, said Sheryll Harris, a compliance specialist with the N.C. State Board of Elections, last Wednesday.

“A prohibited expenditure has been identified and I am working with the Davis campaign on this issue. I expect this matter to be resolved by Wednesday, October 12, 2016,” wrote Harris in an email earlier this month.

Davis, a Republican, is seeking one of four available seats on the Board of Commissioners.

Last week, Harris explained the forfeiture process.

“I can tell you it is not a fine. It is a prohibited expenditure. The requested amount is going to be 350 (dollars) because it was a $400 prohibited, less the 50 that he could have done. … The 350 will be coming into the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund of the state of North Carolina,” Harris said, adding that she had been trying to contact Davis about the forfeiture but has not yet communicated with him.

The fund distributes certain monies to North Carolina school systems. The money comes from civil penalties, fines and forfeitures. The fund is administered by the Office of State Budget and Management. Criminal penalties and money collected from driving infractions are not examples of civil penalties.

The second-quarter report filed by the Davis campaign shows a $400 “cash/check” payment to Ken Robol on March 3 of this year. An amended second-quarter report (received by the Beaufort County Board of Elections on Oct. 3) shows a “cash” payment to Robol for “canvassing efforts.”

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.”

Davis, in an interview last week, said he should have made individual $50 disbursements instead of one $400 disbursement. He said he was working with the state board on paying the $350 to the fund.

As for an allegation about an illegal flier being distributed, Harris said, “I don’t even have a complaint on that. I have not looked into that.” Harris said she has no evidence that the Davis campaign distributed a flier without the required disclosure. If that can be proven, the Davis campaign could have a problem, she said.

The state board’s investigation and subsequent actions stem from a complaint about improper campaign expenditures, and later an amended complaint, filed by Gary Brinn, a Beaufort County commissioner seeking re-election this year.

No other complaints against other candidates in Beaufort County this election cycle have been made, according to Kellie Harris Hopkins, the county’s elections director. Such complaints are investigated by the state board, she said.

The state board, as of Tuesday, had not responded to inquiries about how often such prohibited expenditures occur, what are the most common prohibited expenditures and how many of such expenditures are intentional or the result of ignorance.

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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