Star News Online is reporting that Rusty Carter, owner of Atlantic Packaging, was fined $100,000 today by the State Board of Elections for his illegal campaign donation scheme. Mr. Carter, if you will remember, gave bonuses to his employees with the expectation that they would funnel the money to State Senator Marc Basnight, Governor Perdue and former State Senator Julia Boseman.  Carter made a plea deal in May to avoid jail time.  He was barred from making donations for two years.

Mr. Carter offered a novel defense back in May.  In a sworn affidavit, he said that he was unaware that the scheme was illegal because he’d been told by unnamed persons that,

“your wife, kids, dogs and cats can all make contributions.”

This man owns and runs a successful company and this is his defense?

The story does not end with the conviction and SBOE fine, though.  Star News Online reports that a federal investigation is underway since Carter donated to federal candidates as well as state candidates.  Let’s see if the Feds can extract a little more information out of Mr. Carter and find out how this scheme really got started.

And let’s not forget that Mr. Carter is not the only Basnight campaign donor under investigation.  Truth or Dare reported that a second donor, former State Senator Fred Hobbs, presently of Hobbs Upchurch & Associates, appears to have perpetrated a similar scheme to enrich the donation coffers of Senator Basnight, Governor Perdue and former State Senator Julia Boseman.  The Board of Elections began an investigation at the urging of NCGOP Chair Tom Fetzer in the spring.  The Board sealed the investigation in June after they determined that a criminal act may have occurred.  The matter is still under investigation.  Truth or Dare would be stunned if the investigation wrapped up before the election.

How many schemers have to be uncovered before the Board of Elections comes to the conclusion that maybe these men did not act on their own, that maybe they had a little direction on setting up this scheme?  The same individuals benefited each time:  Basnight, Perdue and Boseman.  Is that just a coincidence?

Let’s put an end to the Pay to Play culture in Raleigh.  Choose wisely in November.