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Deposition details illegal campaign contributions by Wilmington businessman


Wilmington, N.C. — The deposition of a Wilmington businessman released Friday reveals how he channeled hundreds of thousands of of dollars through employees and relatives to make illegal campaign contributions to leading state and national politicians - reports

Russell Miller “Rusty” Carter pleaded guilty in May to three misdemeanor charges for illegal contributions and was banned from making political contributions for two years.

In the affidavit released Friday, Carter described how he paid bonuses to employees of Atlantic Corp., a packaging company that he owns, so that they would forward the money to the campaigns.

He also said he deposited money to checking accounts in the names of his three children – Wesley, Ellen and Elizabeth Carter – then made political contributions in their names.

State law prohibits one person making a campaign contribution under someone else's name. It also bars corporations from making donations to candidates.

Carter’s employees and children used money he provided to fund the gubernatorial campaigns of Democrats Bev Perdue and Mike Easley, Democratic state Senate majority leader Marc Basnight and Senate campaigns of Democrats Julia Boseman and Erksine Bowles. They also funded the Bush-Cheney Republican presidential ticket in 2004.

In all, records Carter shared show $73,000 in illegal donations funneled through other people and $266,000 provided by his business.

In addition to the ban, Carter was sentenced May 4 to 30 days in jail, which was suspended to two years on probation, and was fined $5,000.

Carter’s attorney, David Long, said his client didn't know the contributions were illegal until Bob Hall, executive director of campaign watchdog group Democracy North Carolina, and State Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer complained about Carter's actions to the State Board of Elections.

In the affidavit, Carter swears that he was not encouraged by either political party to violate the campaign finance law and that he was promised nothing in return.

Web Editor: Jodi Leese Glusco


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He claims he did not know it was illegal, but he had to "pass" a total of $339,000 through employees as "bonuses" and deposits from family. He obviously knew each could only contribute up to $4,000 each, since that is all he was ever allowed to contribute.
You are telling me he never once thought to even ask "Why is there a max limit of just $4,000 per person? Maybe I should ask before I funnel all this money through others." If he REALLY didn't know then he would have just handed each employee and his family the money directly and not tried to make it look like "bonuses" or just deposits in his families accounts. If he REALLY didn't know then he wouldn't have tried to hide it so much. I mean we are talking a few years of this going on, so if he REALLY didn't know, then why is there such a paper trail for everything.
Not to mention, I guess that means all the employees and family that he contributed through didn't know it was illegal either?? Otherwise I would think those people close to him would have told him it was wrong. If they knew and didn't say anything to him, then he may want to re-evaluate his relationships with those around him. Why are the employees and family members not in trouble? I mean they were involved with this as well. They accepted the money as a "bonuses", knowing they were told to just turn it over to these campaigns. Shouldn't they be partly to blame for this as well?
I'd be curious how all the other employees of his are feeling about all of this as well, Atlantic Corp is fairly large. Especially with the way the economy is right now. Has anyone checked to see if he contributed to Obama as well? Carter obviously is a democrate, since the majority of his contributions are towards that.

I wonder

if this was a topic of conversation this past week while he was on his boat during the Big Rock Tournament in Morehead City?

And how many others are facing similar challenge of the authorities dig deep enough?

And one again wonders why the money source faces the music while the recipients apparently do not.


but "he did not know" is full of smoke. He likely had attorneys and accountants who advised him. When in doubt you ask.

And no doubt, there are many, many more who hope this passes before their donations get looked at.


Yea, sure..

I bet he didn't know. He know it was illegal for him to do it. So, I'm sure he know the other way was. He just bet on not getting caught...