Pat McCrory's gubernatorial campaign today called upon Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue to return campaign contributions tied to N.C. Board of Transportation member Louis W. Sewell Jr. and his son, Billy.
The News & Observer reported Sunday that Sewell had steered transportation money to an intersection and a road where he and his son have financial interests, Dan Kane reports.
"Lt. Gov. Perdue has a long history of fundraising impropriety," said McCrory Campaign Manager Richard Hudson in a news release. "Whether it is funds from the nursing home industry she had to return, funds from a disgraced DOT board member she had to return, the series of SBI investigations into her fundraising practices, two of her fundraisers involved in a DENR bribery case, or the recent allegations about the Sewells, she has an ethical cloud hanging over her head."
Hudson said state election reports showed the Sewell family had contributed $37,500 to Perdue's campaigns over the past eight years. Contributions raised by Louis and Billy Sewell should be returned as well, Hudson said.
Reached Monday afternoon, McCrory said that Sewell's actions highlight the need to ban fundraisers from the boards that run transportation and universities and the ABC Commission.
"I want to take the politics out of board work so there's not an appearance of a conflict of interest,' McCrory said.
Sewell has said he steered roughly $375,000 in public money to the projects in his hometown of Jacksonville to help a clogged, accident-prone intersection and to patch up a road where an elementary school opened. He said he was not seeking to aid adjacent properties he co-owned or his son co-owned.
Board members are required to stay away from road projects that might directly benefit them. Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett has asked for an ethics investigation.
Louis Sewell was a key fundraiser for Democrat Gov. Mike Easley, who concurred with Tippett for the need of an ethics probe. Perdue, a New Bern Democrat, has identified Sewell as a fundraiser. Her campaign declined to comment Monday.
Previously: Dome checks out claims about fundraising and Perdue.
Update: The post has been updated to include additional information.