N.C. Sen. Ralph Hise and N.C. Rep. Josh Dobson forfeited $3,000 in illegal contributions from the Pfizer Inc. Political Action Committee. Hise received a $1000 contributions in 2016 and 2017. Hise has also kept a salary for his special projects at the local community college while campaigning.
Hise and Dobson, both Republicans, received contributions from Pfizer Inc. during the legislative sessions. Such contributions are not allowed under state law. Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the N.C. Board of Elections determined that the funds were to be forfeited by the recipient.
Hise’s campaign committee received two contributions of $1,000 each from Pfizer Inc. PAC, one dated June 21, 2016 and the other dated Oct. 16, 2017. Dobson’s campaign committee received a $1,000 contribution from Pfizer PAC on Oct. 16, 2017.
Both complied with the Board of Elections directive and forfeited the money to the N.C. Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund, which goes toward education in North Carolina.
In Dobson’s case, Pfizer’s PAC sent a contribution during a special called session and checks cannot be received while the House is in session. The check was dated Oct. 16, 2017 and the session did not end until Oct. 20, 2017.
Hise and Dobson were among the 50 other state officials, both Democrats and Republicans, whose campaigns received improper money from Pfizer Inc. PAC. The contributions, totaling $53,500 to 36 different committees, were discovered in a recent audit by the state Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. They occurred on June 21, 2016 and Oct. 16, 2017 — both days when the General Assembly was in session.
Unfortunately, the majority of the donations from the pharmaceutical giant’s PAC to North Carolina campaigns in both 2016 and 2017 were given on prohibited days. The prohibited donations totaled $20,000 in 2016 and $33,500 in 2017, according to the NC Policy Watch story.
The contributions, generally in increments of $500 or $1,000, went to high level Democratic and Republican leaders. The campaigns of Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein, both Democrats, each received $5,000 in 2017. Pfizer Inc. PAC records show a donation of $3,500 to Cooper’s Republican opponent, former Gov. Pat McCrory for the 2015-2016 period.