Hearing Delayed in Hobbs' Case
Whatever plea deal Fred Hobbs has made with the state on his misdemeanor charge won’t be heard until Feb. 24.
His case was on the docket in Carthage for Thursday morning’s session of Criminal District Court, but it was carried over to next month. The announcement was made when his case came up during calendar call.
The former state senator faces misdemeanor charges alleging that he made illegal corporate contributions to the 2008 political campaigns of Gov. Beverly Perdue and outgoing N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight. They say Hobbs, acting as an officer of his company, Hobbs, Upchurch & Associates, “made or caused to be” illegal contributions.
On Dec. 9, the State Board of Elections fined Hobbs $150,000 for illegally “making political contributions in the name of another” as a result of a settlement agreement with him.
The state board investigation came in response to a complaint filed by state Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer, who said political donations by employees of Hobbs, Upchurch & Associates looked suspicious.
Over the course of 11 years, Hobbs had funneled about $148,000 to various campaigns according to his attorney Michael Weisel.
It is illegal for corporations to donate to political campaigns. Individuals are forbidden to contribute more than $4,000 per candidate per election. It is against the law to pass money to a campaign through another person, as Hobbs admitted doing. Purdue’s and Basnight’s campaigns will have to return the money.
“In the terms of our settlement discussions, Mr. Hobbs takes full and complete responsibility for ‘contributions in the name of another,’” Weisel told the elections board in December.
Hobbs himself apologized in writing to Moore County Partners for Progress, an economic development organization he chairs. He stressed that neither he not his company derived any benefit from the contributions.
“At no time were any of my employees forced or coerced in any way to make the contributions and they were all told if they were not comfortable doing this to just tell me so,” Hobbs said in the letter.
Contact John Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story