N.C. sen. Fletcher Hartsell indicted on campaign finance violations

RALEIGH — Sen. Fletcher Hartsell (R-Concord) was indicted in Wake County Tuesday for violations of North Carolina campaign finance laws.

Hartsell, who is the longest serving state senator, currently in his 13th term, first came under scrutiny after reports surfaced more than a year ago of the improper use of campaign funds, leading to a Board of Elections investigation last year.

The investigation discovered that Hartsell spent more than $100,000 of campaign funds on personal expenses from 2009 to 2012 on items like haircuts, speeding tickets, and credit card debt. While spending campaign funds on personal expenses is allowed in some cases, the expenses must be for the performance of legislative duties to qualify as lawful uses.

The indictment by a Wake County grand jury consists of three counts of knowingly certifying campaign finance reports that he knew to be false at the time.

Restrictions on the use of campaign funds were bolstered in 2006, before which there were little limitations on the use of such funds.

Hartsell turned himself into the Wake County magistrate Tuesday. He is not seeking reelection.