Former Democratic Gov. Mike Easley has spent $222,000 in campaign money on lawyers this year, according to a report filed Friday.
The report shows that spending on three law firms ramped up as investigations started into issues surrounding Easley and his campaign this spring. Elections officials have said that the former governor, who left office in January, can spend his campaign money on legal issues that arise out of the governor's position as an officeholder.
One of the lawyers working for Easley, John R. Wallace, said in a statement: "The legal service provided included compliance services, research and reporting, and the gathering and assembly of information from past campaigns. We have been providing information to move this matter forward and are intent on coming to a quick resolution."
Elections officials have said they have concerns about the campaign's activities and have indicated there will be hearings on the issues sometime in September.
A breakdown on the legal bills:
Wallace's firm, which specializes in campaign issues, was paid $72,728.
The Raleigh firm of Poyner Spruill was paid $100,000 on April 17 for "legal services/retainer." Calls to the firm were referred to David Long, a veteran lawyer whose biography on the firm's Web site says he has 40 years of experience litigating and focusing on "complex business and white collar criminal cases in State and Federal courts." Long could not be reached.
The Greensboro firm of Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale was paid $50,000 on May 15 for "legal services/retainer." It has been previously reported that criminal defense lawyer Locke Clifford was working for Easley. That check from Easley's campaign was written the same day state and federal investigators revealed probes of issues surrounding Easley, including questions raised about his use of cars and unreported campaign flights.
Clifford served until May 19 on a panel appointed by U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, that screened for federal appointments. Hagan has said he was not involved in recommendations on federal prosecutors but did participate in discussions on judicial appointments.
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