The Civitas Institute stepped into the fray today by calling on the state Board of Elections to investigate where the money came from that was used in the N.C. Democratic Party sex harassment settlement.
Francis De Luca, president of the conservative political organization, said the board should investigate because the state gives it some taxpayer money – about $300,000 in funds that taxpayers can contribute automatically by checking off a box on their tax forms.
“It is vital that the hardworking taxpayers of North Carolina be assured that no taxpayer check-off funds, illegal contributions or other prohibited funds were used for these purposes, and that any money involved was handled in an accountable and transparent manner,” De Luca wrote to the board.
Party Chairman David Parker was asked about the source of the settlement money in his news conference today, but he replied that he didn’t know.
John Wallace, the attorney for the N.C. Democratic Party, issued a statement this afternoon explaining that there is a legal fund, but not addressing whether the settlement money came from there.
Here’s what Wallace had to say:
“A legal fund is maintained on behalf of the North Carolina Democratic Party, in accordance with the guidance provided by the Advisory Opinion issued by Gary O. Bartlett, Executive Director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, on December 10, 2010. Pursuant to that opinion, activity in the account is not required to be reported to the State Board of Elections as with other accounts. However, I will disclose that the deposits to the account from its inception in 2011, until today, total less than $11,000 and its disbursements total approximately $10,000. No monies deposited to the legal fund come from taxpayer check-off money.”
Parker said that the accuser, Adriadn Ortega, had asked for a year's pay and health benefits, but Parker intimated that isn't what he received in the final settlement. Ortega made about $20,000 a year, according to campaign-finance reports.