Under the Dome

Not everyone held on to sweeps money

UPDATED Not everyone who received campaign contributions from video sweepstakes executive Chase Burns in North Carolina in 2012 held on to that hot potato after Burns was arrested for racketeering in Florida in 2013.

As mentioned in a story last week, a law firm drew up a list of candidates for Burns to consider contributing to, as the sweeps industry sought to ensure the games stay legal in North Carolina. The firm grouped legislators into five categories of importance. Burns more or less followed the recommendations, according to a state elections board report made public last week, and sent money to about 90 campaigns.

Several state legislators’ names that were on campaign contribution checks from Burns did not necessarily receive or accept the money, according to a report by the state Board of Elections. Burns spent about $270,000 on the campaigns.

Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Hendersonville and a key part of the Senate leadership, voided his $4,000 check from Burns, records show. Apodaca says he never accepted the money.

Others listed as voiding Burns’ donations: Rep. Marilyn Avila, a Republican from Raleigh, $2,500; Rep. Nelson Dollar, Republican from Cary, $1,000 (Dollar says he never accepted the check); Rep. Paul Luebke, Democrat from Durham, $500; and Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, Republican from Apex, $500.

Senate leader Phil Berger, Republican from Eden, and then-House Speaker Thom Tillis previously said they sent their contributions to charity -- $8,000 for Berger and $6,500 for Tillis. Gov. Pat McCrory also said he sent his $8,000 contribution from Burns to charity. Former Rep. Ruth Samuelson, a Republican from Charlotte, said she sent her $4,000 donation to a charity.

Burns was the main contributor but not the only one. Estimates are that the video sweepstakes industry contributed several hundred thousand dollars to various North Carolina politicians.

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