Campaign finance reports show multiple financial ties between North Carolina's lieutenant governor and Greg Lindberg, a political donor recently indicted on conspiracy and bribery charges. But, at least until recently, those financial reports didn't show all of their ties. The campaign for Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican who plans to run for governor in 2020, told The News & Observer that it failed to report what is known as an in-kind contribution from Lindberg in 2017. That is generally required for a contribution of something other than money. The acknowledgment comes less than a month after The N&O reported that Lindberg hosted an event for Forest in August 2017 and that campaign finance reports found no mention of an in-kind donation associated with Lindberg's property.
In a Facebook photo reported on by the N&O, Forest can be seen speaking at Lindberg's Durham residence in front of a group of people, some of whom are holding drinks. Campaign finance laws don't require Forest to disclose the use of a residence for a fundraiser, Forest campaign spokesman Hal Weatherman told the N&O when it reported on the photo. But, on Monday, Weatherman said the campaign should've reported $3,761 in catering services provided by Lindberg. "In looking into this matter, I discovered that an in-kind contribution was not submitted for food and beverage provided at the event," Weatherman said in an email. "We have amended our filed report with the (NC elections board) to reflect the update."
The omission is a "bookkeeping error," Weatherman said. It "would make no sense to report over $2.4 million in contributions and then willfully try to conceal $3,761 for food and beverage at a fundraiser that we publicly posted on Facebook," he added.
The North Carolina elections board has been in contact with the Forest campaign as part of a standard, ongoing audit of campaign finance disclosure reports, board spokesman Patrick Gannon said on Monday. The campaign is unlikely to face a penalty as a result of the error, he said. "A typical remedy could be the amendment of reports," Gannon said.