Nearly 3 years later, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s possible illegal campaign finance activities still under investigation

Nearly 3 years later, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s possible illegal campaign finance activities still under investigation

It’s been nearly three years since government accountability advocate Bob Hall filed a complaint with the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) over multiple possible irregularities in Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s campaign finance reports and the public has still yet to receive any answers.

Issues with Robinson’s reports first garnered attention during the 2020 campaign

Soon after he was elected, Robinson’s campaign told The News & Observer that they were aware of “clerical errors related to our campaign finance reports,” were transitioning to new staff, and were “in the process of working with the NCSBE to fix any and all mistakes, and to amend our reports to be accurate and up to date.”

The complaint was filed shortly after Robinson was elected and the investigation began in February 2021. We are now just a few weeks shy of it being February 2024 and as Hall told The N&O this week, the public remains in the dark about the NCSBE’s investigation into Robinson’s campaign finance issues.

According to Hall, just some of the problems he had identified as being issues with Robinson’s reports included possibly “illegal cash donations; contributions in illegal amounts and from illegal donors; illegal cash withdrawals; illegal credit card charges and illegal expenses; (and) illegal disclosure of financial transactions.”

Though state elections officials are not legally allowed to comment on any investigations into campaign finance reports, Hall believes that shouldn’t prevent Robinson from explaining to the public what steps he has taken regarding addressing the report issues.

“The public shouldn’t be kept in the dark,” Hall wrote in a letter to Robinson. “Rather than be surprised, voters need to hear from you now — before the primary, not after the November election. For accountability and transparency, please give people a truthful explanation.”

Robinson’s gubernatorial campaign told The N&O that they had addressed all of the NCSBE’s questions about the reports, and that the board said they’re short-staffed.

“We responded well over a year ago to the [NCSBE] with all updated activity, addressing every question, with any requested documentation,” campaign spokesperson Mike Lonergan told The N&O. “We’ve followed up with them a couple of times to see where we are and they have responded that they are working through it. They indicated that they have been shorthanded on staff.”

As of right now, it’s unclear when the investigation will be completed. There has been no word regarding any potential punishments Robinson or his campaign might face if they are found to have committed illegal campaign finance activities.

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Patrick Zarcone

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