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Elections board probes Realtors group

The N.C. Board of Elections will investigate a campaign group created by the N.C. Association of Realtors in response to a complaint from a Raleigh real estate broker.

Becky Harper has objected to dues she must pay as a member of the Realtors association being funneled to the N.C. Homeowners Alliance, a 527 group the association controls.

On Monday, Harper sent a letter to state elections director Gary Bartlett detailing campaign finance disclosure reports filed with the IRS that show the Alliance cut a $50,000 check to a political action committee controlled by the National Association of Realtors.

It is potentially illegal for the state Realtors group to give dues money to a group that engages in partisan political activity.

In a letter to Bartlett on Friday, a lawyer for the Realtors group, John Wallace, said the federal report it filed was in error.

The $50,000 was sent to a “political advocacy fund” at the National Association of Realtors, not the political action committee for the national group, which is a separate legal entity.

The money would be used to enable the national association to “communicate with its membership and not with the general public,” Wallace wrote, and, therefore, lawful.

Bartlett said Friday his staff will investigate the matter. The results of any probe will not be known until after the election.

Michael Biesecker, (Raleigh) News & Observer

Sierra Club endorses commissioner hopefuls

The Central Piedmont Chapter of the Sierra Club has endorsed the Democratic slate of Harold Cogdell, Jennifer Roberts and Dan Murrey for at-large seats on Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners.

The environmental group also endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and other Democrats for statewide office.

Jim Morrill
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