Parents group accused of donating too much

Staff WriterOctober 6, 2009 

— A political consultant working with three Wake County school board candidates filed a complaint Monday with the State Board of Elections accusing the Wake Schools Community Alliance of violating campaign-finance laws.

Perry Woods accuses the Wake Schools Community Alliance, a parents group critical of the school district's diversity policy, of exceeding the limit of $4,000 per candidate per campaign. Woods cites the campaign mailers the group has sent and the direct financial contributions that have been made to school board candidates it has backed.

"It is unfortunate the WSCA apparently wants to win so badly, they are willing to skirt campaign-finance rules," Woods said in a written statement.

Woods, a Democratic political strategist, is assisting school board candidates Rita Rakestraw, Karen Simon and Lois Nixon. All three candidates support the diversity policy and are being opposed by candidates endorsed by the Wake Schools Community Alliance.

Joe Ciulla, a leader of the Wake Schools Community Alliance, called the complaint's allegations "baseless."

The campaign has already produced multiple complaints.

Woods previously filed a complaint against the Wake Schools Community Alliance for having filed late campaign-finance reports. The State Board of Elections closed the investigation after determining that the group had been given bad information by the Wake County Board of Elections.

Ciulla filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections accusing the Wake Education Partnership of violating its nonprofit status in an effort to influence the school board elections. The state board dropped the complaint because it said it had no jurisdiction concerning the partnership's nonprofit tax status. Ciulla said a new complaint has since been filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

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