North Carolina: Hayes Dogs Kissell on Payments to Advisers

Posted June 16, 2008 at 5:43pm

Rep. Robin Hayes (R) this week continues to criticize his challenger’s decision to pay his political consultants as “independent contractors,” an arrangement the lawmaker alleges is a tax dodge.

Pushing the controversy into its second week, Hayes is now using Democratic sound bites to knock teacher Larry Kissell (D) for what he characterizes as failing to pay “employment taxes — including taxes that fund North Carolina’s unemployment trust fund — on any of the numerous campaign workers who have worked in his campaign since Kissell began running in 2005.”

Hayes ran a cable television ad last week criticizing his opponent over the arrangement. On Monday, Hayes began distributing comments by Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and Kissell’s potential fellow Democratic Caucus Members who have criticized the classification of employees as “independent contractors” in the past.

“Worker misclassification is a problem that adversely affects employees, employers, taxpayers and states,” Hayes’ campaign quoted Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) saying. Andrews is the chairman of the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions.

Conservative North Carolina, typically a GOP gimme, may be in play this cycle if Obama campaigns heavily in the state — and gives Democrats like Kissell a boost downballot.

Kissell lost to Hayes in 2006 by 330 votes.