Election Board Rules Video Sweepstakes Contributions Were Legal
The State Board of Elections has ruled no laws were broken when an Oklahoma man with ties to illegal gambling gave $270,000 to the campaigns of leading North Carolina politicians.
This ruling, which was unanimous, wraps up a two year investigation into contributions made by Chase Burns and his wife. In 2012, they gave more money than anyone else to North Carolina politicians, including contributions to then gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory, Senator Phil Berger and then Speaker of the House Thom Tillis. Burns made his money in online video sweepstakes, which are considered an illegal form of gambling in North Carolina.
In 2012, Burns and others were lobbying to change that law and the investigation found the political contributions were almost certainly paid for by income from that illegal business. But since the checks were written from private accounts no laws were broken. State Board member Maja Kricker found the whole thing ridiculous. And to make that clear she used an example of a heroine dealer lobbying politicians to make the drug legal. "So all I have to do," Kricker asked hypothetically, "is take the proceeds of my heroine sales, put it in my personal account and from that account I can make campaign contributions and this appears to be perfectly legal?" The short answer is yes. Even if the money is gained from an illegal enterprise it can be contributed to politicians in North Carolina.
Chase Burns, by the way, was charged with money laundering and racketeering in Florida in 2013, he pleaded guilty to lesser charges.