Raleigh, N.C. — For a little while there, it looked like the Iredell County Democratic Party snagged a $4 million donation on April 1.
Certainly, that's what official records on file with the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement said. Was it an April Fools joke? An unreal windfall for a local political party in a county of 170,000 people?
More like a simple mistake.
This was the first year North Carolina required this sort of committee to file electronic campaign finance records. When the numbers went in, it seems the date and the donation amount got put in the same field.
No one gave $4,011,725. But on 4/01/17, a Mooresville woman wrote the party a check for $25.
"You can probably deduce for yourself that it's an honest mistake," said Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the state elections board.
By Wednesday, board staff had talked to the party and seen a copy of the $25 check. An amended report is in the offing.
North Carolina caps contributions to individual candidate committees at $5,200. But county and other political parties aren't subject to the cap.
"It would be amazing if the Iredell County Democrats had $4 million," local chairman Carey Parker said Wednesday.
To be clear: At no point did party officials think they had this money. It was just a (virtual) paperwork error that apparently went unnoticed until @NCCapitol picked it up as part of a routine check on campaign finance records across the state.
But in the state's database it seemed the committee was beyond flush, not only listing the massive donation in a single line item but boasting a mid-year cash-on-hand total above $4 million.
In reality the committee has about $755.