Tuesday, March 3, 2009


The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce is pushing local business leaders to join them from April 16-18 for their 20th Anniversary Inter-City Visit and Leadership Conference. The conference/visit is in Dallas, Texas.

Among the selling points, particularly for elected officials, is that they can learn "how Dallas has become a successful market for transit, arts investment, and headquarter relocation."

Cost per person for the three day trip is $1,999. Must be a nice trip.

A number of local elected officials will attend.

The current list includes:

Harold Webb - Wake County Commissioners
Dick Sears - Holly Springs Town Council
Charles Meeker - Raleigh City Council
Nancy McFarlane - Raleigh City Council
Anne McLaurin - Wake County Board of Education

Nobody's faulting them for going.

Our concern is: Who's going to pay?

Recently Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley asked Wake County Attorney Scott Warren if commissioners could use campaign funds to pay for these type of trips instead of billing it back to the county.

Mr. Warren replied back with the following memo:

The answer, in short, is yes.

Mr. Warren cited NCGS 163-278.16B(a)(2).

§ 163‑278.16B. Use of contributions for certain purposes.
(a) A candidate or candidate campaign committee may use contributions only for the following purposes:
(1) Expenditures resulting from the campaign for public office by the candidate or candidate's campaign committee.
(2) Expenditures resulting from holding public office.

While Commissioner Gurley asked as a county commissioner, the statute extends to any local elected official.

If the trip is valuable, let these local elected officials justify it to their campaign donors. If not maybe those up for re-election can justify it to voters this fall.