As the General Assembly considers major legislation (HB-581) to cut back regulation of the billboard industry, a nonprofit organization is criticizing two of the state’s largest billboard companies for “political favoritism and censorship.”
Democracy North Carolina, a voting rights and campaign finance watchdog group, has been trying to post billboards calling attention to an ongoing investigation by the State Board of Elections into the campaign finances of state Sen. Ralph Hise. Hise is a Mitchell County Republican and chair of the Senate Select Committee on Elections; his legislative district covers six counties in western North Carolina.
Hise has allegedly withdrawn about $10,000 in excess “loan repayments” from his campaign and also failed to disclose receiving more than $9,000 in donations from political action committees (PACs). Democracy North Carolina says his campaign reports have more missing information and are “the worst of any current state legislator.”
“We’ve been trying to let the voters in Sen. Hise’s district know about his problems for a month, but the billboard industry seems so worried about making him mad that they are refusing to rent us space for our message,” said Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina.