In 2020, Republican Senate leader Phil Berger sold a home financed
by campaign contributions to a well connected lobbyist with clients
who have business before the Senate for a handsome profit, according
to several new reports.
The move is a “manipulative, self-serving” action designed to “enrich” Berger using campaign contributions, according to watchdog Bob Hall -- “a handsome gift from the lobbyist” to Berger. The eventual sale netted Berger “a 32% gain in just three years,” but the pass through of campaign funds to eventual sale means that Berger’s actual profit “topped $150,000 – nearly double what other sellers were making.”
Berger has long bent or outright flouted ethics laws for himself and his family and courted lobbyists with business before the General Assembly. His campaign has paid his Eden law office nearly $110,000 “even though Berger often spends more than 200 days a year in Raleigh.” He headlined a fundraiser “hosted by several lobbyists who practice before the General Assembly” to benefit his son’s political campaign - a “simple-minded pay-to-play scheme” to skirt laws prohibiting state legislators from raising money from lobbyists.
In 2019, a separate ethics complaint regarding the property found Berger “created a property management company and [used] campaign funds to pay ‘rent’ to the company, which ultimately [paid] the mortgage on his Raleigh residence,” according to The News & Observer.
While editorial boards have called on the legislature to “close the loophole,” Senator Berger has apparently found new ways to benefit from it.
There's only one word to describe selling a house bought with campaign funds to a well connected lobbyist for a handsome profit -- corrupt. Rather than working for North Carolina families by expanding health care access or giving teachers the meaningful pay raises they deserve, Senator Berger is using his position and campaign funds to enrich himself and his family.
More on Phil Berger:
Berger headlined a fundraiser “hosted by several lobbyists who practice before the General Assembly” to benefit his son’s political campaign - a “simple-minded pay-to-play scheme” to skirt laws prohibiting state legislators from raising money from lobbyists.