The Associated Press has a story on the wire tonight that builds on an investigative report by Democracy North Carolina from last month, as well as substantial additional material we provided the AP reporter. There’s more to be told, but the AP story for tonight begins:
“State elections officials are calling for an investigation of $235,000 in political donations to dozens of North Carolina candidates from an Oklahoma sweepstakes operator, contributions that they say may have violated state campaign finance laws. Gov. Pat McCrory, state House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger are among those who received the checks, many of them mailed from a Charlotte lobbying firm where McCrory worked until just before he took office. Lawmakers, meanwhile, are considering legalizing the games, which are still offered across the state despite the passage of three laws intended to ban them, most recently in 2010.
Court records from Florida examined by The Associated Press show that the checks were drawn from an account that received funds directly from International Internet Technologies, a company that earned millions of dollars in profits from what prosecutors allege was a criminal gambling enterprise. The company’s owners, Chase and Kristin Burns of Anadarko, Okla., were among 57 people arrested by Florida authorities last month on felony charges related to a charity that purported to help homeless veterans but that prosecutors say was a front for collecting nearly $300 million in untaxed profits from sweepstakes cafes. . . .
Bank records subpoenaed as part of the Florida investigation show that the Burns’ company also received more than $98 million in about four years from North Carolina sweepstakes cafes using the company’s software. The records show large cash transfers then were made from the company’s account to a checking account labeled Chase Burns Trust, the source of the North Carolina political donations. State law prohibits corporate money from being used to “directly or indirectly” fund political campaigns.”