Common Cause proposes plan to curb ‘pay-to-play politics’ in NC

RALEIGH – Recent headlines in North Carolina have highlighted large political donors also winning significant contracts with state government, raising concerns about “pay-to-play politics” in which campaign cash might influence how tax dollars are spent.

In response to these unsettling allegations, Common Cause North Carolina has put forward a plan that would curb the ability of campaign contributions to influence the awarding of state contracts. The proposal would set a $500 campaign contribution limit per election cycle for vendors doing business with state government, a significant drop from the current $5,100.

The plan is patterned after a bipartisan measure introduced during the 2011 legislative session — House Bill 139 — that passed almost unanimously in the Republican-led state House four years ago on a vote of 114-2, but later stalled in the GOP-controlled N.C. Senate.

“North Carolinians deserve to know that their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent in a responsible and transparent manner, without undue favoritism,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. “Placing a sensible limit on the amount of campaign contributions from those doing business with the state will go a long way to ensuring elected officials avoid real or perceived impropriety, while protecting the confidence of citizens in the integrity of our government.”