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North Carolina board fines Republican Governors Association

AP reports: The State Board of Elections on Thursday fined the Republican Governors Association nearly $200,000 for an illegal television ad it ran on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Patrick Ballantine.

By a 3-2 vote -- the board's three Democrats voting in the majority -- the elections panel assessed a penalty of $196,260 for the ad, which began running Aug. 20. The association also must pay $1,000 to the board for investigation expenses, the panel ruled.

The board unanimously determined last week that the advertisement advocated for Ballantine, a former state senator from Wilmington running against Democratic incumbent Mike Easley. As such, the board decided, the RGA broke state election law because it used corporate contributions to pay for the ad.

Scott Falmlen, executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, filed the complaint with the board. He said the penalty, based on how much the RGA said it cost to produce and air the ad, apparently is the largest fine of its kind in state history. -- N.C. election board fines GOP group nearly $200K for illegal ad (AP via WCNC.com)