Politics & Government

Former NC elections board member Foley hosted fundraiser for McCrory

Paul Foley, who earlier this month resigned from the state Board of Elections under pressure from Gov. Pat McCrory, hosted a fundraising event for the future governor in 2012.

McCrory’s spokesman has said he didn’t know Foley personally. McCrory’s campaign director says the event was one of hundreds like it across the state, and noted it raised only a small amount of money.

Foley’s role as a fundraiser wasn’t previously known, since financial reporting forms didn’t require him to disclose it.

Foley and his wife were among three “presenting hosts” for a “young professionals” event at a Winston-Salem restaurant. Host couples attended for a $250 donation. More than a dozen others were listed on the invitation as hosts. Guests were asked to contribute $25.

Most of the presenting hosts and hosts were lawyers, and several were from the Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton law firm where Foley worked.

The campaign later reimbursed Foley $1,600 for the Saturday afternoon event at the District Roof Top Bar & Grille.

McCrory’s campaign director, Billy Constangy, said Monday the reimbursement was for light refreshments and a few items purchased at a Party City store.

Constangy characterized the event as a “small-dollar fundraiser.” The presenting hosts and hosts included those in the real estate, banking and financial advising professions. Donations from Kilpatrick Stockton lawyers recorded in that time frame amounted to $2,500, according to the campaign watchdog group Democracy North Carolina. Foley was among those who contributed $250.

Foley was not required to report his role as a fundraiser on a statement of economic interests form that he filed soon after joining the state’s elections board.

The required disclosure form has several questions about fundraising and campaign activities.

One of them asks the appointee, in this case Foley, to disclose if he has “hosted a fundraiser at your residence or place of business?”

Foley checked no. It is unclear why the question does not ask about fundraisers in other locations.

The form also asks about volunteering at campaign-related activities, such as mailings and other activities, and Foley disclosed that he had.

Foley could not be reached for comment this week.

Foley resigned from the elections board after McCrory requested it following the discovery that Foley’s law firm represented the target of an investigation by the board into campaign contributions by a video sweepstakes executive. When investigators found that out, last September, the board chairman confronted Foley, who immediately recused himself from the case.

But, as he had done since taking office, Foley continued to press elections officials for information about the progress of the investigation. He said he needed to see the final report before it was made public so he could help Kilpatrick Stockton prepare a response.

That information wasn’t publicly known until earlier this month, when an internal investigative report surfaced through public records requests by The News & Observer and The Associated Press. After that disclosure, McCory asked Foley to resign. He at first refused but agreed a few hours later.

McCrory took office in January 2013 and appointed Foley that April, along with all new members of the elections board.

The video sweepstakes industry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in North Carolina in 2013 in an unsuccessful effort to legalize the games. The money went to politicians, attorneys and lobbyists.