The Raleigh (NC) News and Observer said Moore was seeking donations from fixed-income brokers, real estate investors, private equity managers and hedge-fund managers for the N.C. Fiscal Literacy Foundation. Moore mailed his appeal to companies that either do business with the Treasurer’s Office or want to.Mooremanages a $70 billion portfolio, with much of it tied up in the state’s pension fund.
“I am asking you to make a gift of $10,000 to the North Carolina Fiscal Literacy Foundation to help us continue our work toward these important goals and objectives,” Moore said in a letter dated June 15. “Your support will make it possible for us to provide fiscal literacy information, materials, training and instruction to North Carolinians at all stages of life and in all parts of the state.”
Mooredenies that soliciting money from people who work with his office is a conflict of interest, according to the newspaper. “Absolutely not,” Moore told the News and Observer when asked if the donations would influence who gets the state’s business.
Moore‘s foundation has helped increase the Tar Heel state official’s profile as he prepares for an anticipated run for governor in 2008. It has held conferences across the state to help teach women to improve their financial acumen, given educational information to the schools and helped schoolteachers and other public employees buy their first houses.
Some question whether the solicitation leaves the impression that contributing to the fund gives donors an edge in gaining the state’s business. “It’s a very bad practice,” Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group in Washington that tracks money in politics, told the newspaper.
Mooresaid he has appealed for money for the foundation at least three times. The group has raised at least $163,000 in private donations, according to IRS tax forms for 2003 and 2004. The foundation also received $125,000 in government grants.
“We sent it to everyone who is a financial contact of this office,” Moore told the newspaper. “We maintain lists of people who do business with the Treasurer’s Office and people who want to do business with the Treasurer’s Office or people who have been through here who have expressed interest … in this area. We solicited everyone who we thought would have any interest in this.”