RALEIGH — Mid-year campaign finance reports were due to the State Board of Elections and Ethics at the end of last month and as they trickled in, the disclosures begin to shed a light on where candidates stand in off-year fundraising.
State campaign finance law restricts who can donate to statewide offices, such as legislators and the governor, and when. Because of the restrictions, most of the cash flow occurs outside of session. Lobbyists and groups that hire lobbyists cannot directly give to statewide candidates, unless through a political action committee, but individuals can donate at any time.
Senate Leader Phil Berger has nearly $560,000 cash on hand by the end of June, with $357,600 collected from personal donations during session. Speaker Tim Moore’s disclosure shows $414,189 cash on hand for the top House Republican fundraiser, with nearly $170,000 from individuals.
Political action committees for Duke Energy, Farm Bureau, Beer and Wine Wholesalers, and powerhouse consulting firm McGuire Woods maxed out to both legislative leaders just before the General Assembly went in for the long session in late January. Blue Cross Blue Shield’s PAC maxed out only to Berger.
Gov. Roy Cooper isn’t up for reelection until 2020, but he’s using his influence to fundraise for other Democratic pursuits — including winning seats in the General Assembly to dilute the Republican’s veto-proof majority.
Cooper spent a whopping $686,437 in the last six months, including $15,470 on “strategic consulting” services from a company based in West Hollywood, California and $22,400 to purchase potential donor lists from Virginia and Iowa based political firms.
The governor spent more than he took in, but disclosed that he currently has $532,147 cash on hand heading into the fall.