Legislators considering combining lobbyist reporting, campaign finance reporting and ethics under one agency heard from some of the people responsible for those jobs that that they didn't want their work taken away.
Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, whose office registers lobbyists and shares administration of the state lobbying law with the state Ethics Commission, told legislators today that her office should keep its responsibilities.
"Consolidation for the sake of consolidation should not be the highest value in the discussion," she said.
State Board of Elections Chairman Larry Leake said the campaign finance unit needs more employees but should stay where it is.
The Board of Elections handles not only state campaign and PAC reports, but supervises local boards of elections as they review county filings, he said.
But whatever happens ot campaign finance, he said, investigations should be in its own division.
Sen. Bob Rucho gigged Leake over the board's handling of an investigation into Gov. Bev Perdue's campaign flights, suggesting that the agency should concentrate on running elections since it didn't have enough time to completely investigate the flight complaint.
The board, in a 3-2 party line vote in 2010, ended its investigation of Perdue campaign flights before holding hearings. Leake, a Democrat, told the agency's lead investigator to finish her work before interviewing Perdue's campaign manager because he wanted the report finished.
"I know that your board was involved in a couple of episodes recently one of which you felt there wasn't enough time really to get an in-depth study of all the issues dealing with a particular complaint," said Rucho, a Mecklenburg County Republican.
Leake said administering elections is time-consuming, but "I believe that the fact that the campaign finance laws and the adminstration of elections and the folks running campaigns are so closely intertwined that it would be more efficient to keep that together."