Complaint Questions Duke Energy PAC Donations

Complaint Questions Duke Energy PAC Donations

4:31pm Sep 19, 2019
KERI BROWN/WFDD

A longtime campaign finance watchdog filed a complaint Wednesday against Duke Energy's political action committee. According to WRAL, it alleges more than $40,000 in now-refunded campaign donations to key North Carolina legislators were illegal.

The complaint accuses the company of making excess donations in 2018, then hiding them. It was filed by Bob Hall, the former head of Democracy North Carolina who has a long history in campaign finance research. He says legislators involved are key to the company's push to change North Carolina's electricity rate setting. Senate Bill 559 is a heavily lobbied measure still in play at the statehouse.

The donations went to several Republican lawmakers, including Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, and Dan Blue, a Democrat who serves as Senate minority leader.

A company spokeswoman told WRAL it was a timing issue — checks were printed in December, but given out in January because the PAC had already hit contribution limits for the 2018 election cycle.

All of the money has been returned.

Duke Energy says it will review the complaint and act accordingly with the State Board of Elections. The company says the claim that it made illegal contributions is false and misleading. “We are committed to remaining transparent with our employee PAC contributions,” says Paige Sheehan with Duke Energy.

Hall wants an investigation and to fine the company's PAC three times the donation total.

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