North Carolina: “‘Take this envelope, put money in here.’ GOP leader’s comments to donors get scrutiny”

News & Observer:

The chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party faces criticism for comments he made at a recent campaign fundraiser, where some say he misrepresented campaign finance laws and possibly forecast his intentions to break them.

Robin Hayes, chairman of the NC GOP, spoke at the fundraiser for U.S. Rep. David Rouzer at the Figure 8 Yacht Club in Wilmington on Aug. 10 when he asked attendees to donate to the party organization to help Rouzer. A Democrat who attended the fundraiser recorded part of Hayes’ speech and gave it to The News & Observer.

“This is an envelope. You have heard things that should inspire you to dig deep tonight. But federal law says you can only give, you and your wife, $5,200 to David Rouzer,” Hayes says in the recording. Rouzer then corrects him to say the individual federal spending limit is $5,400 per year.

“But you can take this envelope, put money in here and give it to your friend and citizen, Robin Hayes, who happens to be party chair and I can take unlimited money and put it to his campaign, legally,” Hayes said.

Hayes’ comments raise questions about his plans for the money and whether he intentionally misled potential donors.

Federal campaign finance laws prohibit state organizations from earmarking general donations for specific candidates and do, in fact, limit the amount of money that individuals can donate to the state party. Party organizations are also limited to $5,000 per candidate per election.

 

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