Carolina Journal News Reports
RALEIGH — Two pastors with close ties to Rep. Frank Ballance (D-1st) are associated with possibly illegal contributions to his 2002 campaign for Congress.
State Senator Robert L. Holloman, an Ahoskie Democrat and one of those pastors, does not challenge an assertion that he exceeded contribution limits by $500 to Ballance’s campaign, a violation of federal law. Holloman won the state Senate seat formerly held by Ballance.
Pastor Eddie W. Lawrence and Cathy Alston-Kearny, parents of Martin W. Lawrence, refused to explain for Carolina Journal whether two contributions, totaling $1,300, from 15-year-old Martin to Ballance were actually made by their son. Lawrence is pastor of Ballance’s church and is director of the John Hyman Memorial Youth Foundation, an organization chaired by Ballance.
Federal election laws prohibit making contributions in the name of another person, knowingly allowing your name to be used for that purpose, or knowingly accepting such a contribution.
The Hyman Foundation, which claims to run substance abuse programs, is totally funded by the state. Holloman’s church has received approximately $70,000 in grants from the foundation. Lawrence receives a salary as executive director of the foundation and his church receives rent payments for office space.
On May 15 the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald reported that Holloman gave $500 over the $2,000 limit and that Ballance returned the overpayment. Holloman told CJ that he was aware of the news story and understands the money is being returned, but he has not received it yet. He said he has not found a record of the $500 donation, which was made in the name of Robert Holloman, Jr. — a person who evidently doesn’t exist.
Ballance’s federal campaign report stated that Robert L. Holloman of Ahoskie gave $1,000 contributions on June 21 and Oct. 25, 2002. Holloman’s occupation was listed as a pastor. The report also listed an Oct. 28 contribution of $500 in the name of Robert Holloman, Jr. whose occupation was listed as a state employee and whose address was incomplete, but listed as Murfreesboro. Holloman’s church is located in Murfreesboro, and until Dec. 31, 2001, Holloman was a state employee.
Ballance’s campaign report also shows donations of $800 on Feb. 25, 2002, and $500 on Oct. 28, 2002, from Martin Lawrence.
Alston-Kearny told CJ she was aware of his donations. When asked if her son was reimbursed for the contributions, she said, “I am not sure how to answer that question, or that I even want to. I don’t think I want to discuss it any further.” She instructed CJ to call Martin’s father, but Eddie Lawrence did not return phone messages.
CJ previously reported that at least 12 of 23 pastors who donated to Ballance’s campaign for Congress received grants for their churches from the Hyman Foundation. Ballance claims there is no connection between the grants and campaign contributions.
After several attempts CJ was unable to get a response from Ballance or his Washington office spokeswoman Joanna Kuebler about the contributions in question.
Carrington is associate publisher at Carolina Journal.