They tried hard. Blinkin’ Chris, the AP’s Mike Biesecker, the Democrat Party, and the rest of the Blue Print Crowd TRIED to turn the Chase Burns / internet gambling campaign contributions into the second coming of Watergate. We heard about all the money Thom Tillis, Phil Berger, and Pat McCrory got — but very little if anything about all the Democrats on Jones Street who got money.
What did Burns get for his trouble (other than a federal indictment out-of-state)? He passed out a lot of money to a lot of legislators and got NOTHING favorable passed. So where was the problem? Where was the crime? THAT appears to be what the state board of elections was asking today:
A two-year investigation by the state Board of Elections into campaign contributions from the video sweepstakes industry did not find any violations of North Carolina law.
After a public presentation on the approximately 100-page report at its meeting on Wednesday, the board agreed that there was no evidence that would justify referring the matter to prosecutors. Several members of the board said they were frustrated that more couldn’t be done about what appeared to be the proceeds of illegal activity used to make political donations and to pay lawyers and lobbyists to keep the games legal in North Carolina.
The report focused on sweepstakes software executive Chase Burns of Oklahama, who along with his wife was the largest contributor to political campaigns in North Carolina in 2012, spending about $270,000. He was later charged in Florida with racketeering and money laundering, and pleaded no contest to lesser charges.
It is illegal in this state for business entities to make campaign contributions. But Burns’ financial expenditures in North Carolina came from a trust fund that he established, and could not decisively be tied to his business operations.
Elections Director Kim Strach told the board she could not say with certainty that no illegal funds had come to North Carolina through Burn’s trust fund.
The board voted to make the report public.
A guy in a shady occupation handed out a lot of money to some shady politicians in this state. And he got burned. No real heroes here. No real crime jumping out at us. (No real surprise, actually.) Unless you want to call being stupid a crime. Giving those guys and gals on Jones Street money is a lot like playing three-card monte with that guy on the sidewalk. He’s always the winner, and will likely take your money and RUN.
Trying to make this a GOP scandal? Well, like my grandpa used to say, that dog won’t hunt. The campaign finance reports say dogs from both parties got paid.
There are plenty of other scandals in that town to report on. This wasn’t one of them.