There goes Pat McCrory, showing off his thin skin and fighting with the media again. When is he going to learn that the best way to kill a story is to down play it, not escalate it? Now, he’s dragging it out for another day and making me write about it again.
McCrory’s problems stem from his lack of credibility on transparency issues and his general lack of candor. Throughout his campaign in 2012, McCrory refused to release his taxes and wouldn’t disclose the his client list when we worked for the law firm Moore and Van Allen. Turns out the law firm was involved in funneling campaign funds from video poker venders to McCrory and other Republicans though McCrory denied that he worked with the vendors directly.
Maybe McCrory didn’t have anything do with the video poker folks, but his former employer is involved in some of the most controversial and potentially profitable issues facing the state. They represented Met Life in it’s deal to move its headquarters to Raleigh in exchange for $90 million in incentives. The firm also represents the American Petroleum Institute which is leading the charge to bring fracking and off-shore drilling to North Carolina.
McCrory might not have worked directly on any of these projects but he sure knows the people who are and McCrory has a long history of relationships that beg the question of where his loyalties lie. While he was Mayor Pro-tem of Charlotte, there’s strong evidence that he helped his employer, Duke Energy, gain access to a family’s dairy farm so Duke, instead of the smaller Crescent Electric Membership Corporation, could provide power to a new water treatment facility.
McCrory presided over the meeting that condemned the property but, in the court case that ensued, he “filed an affidavit in which he said that if he had known Duke Power Company was involved in the matter, he would not have participated in the meeting. There was some evidence that he knew Duke was involved.” The court called it “an ethical problem.” Fellow Republican and the Supreme Court Justice I. Beverly Lake had stronger words, saying “e-mail messages indicate that the mayor pro tempore of the City, an employee of Duke Power, as well as the project director had contact with Duke Power officials and discussed condemning” the property.
If all this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it has shades of the emails exchanged between Duke Energy and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources over the coal ash spill. But it won’t be familiar to McCrory. When Walter Dalton brought the issue up in the campaign, McCrory said that was the first he had heard of the issue even though Perdue brought it up in the 2008 campaign and McCrory was in those meetings in 1994 and filed an affidavit in the law suit.
Maybe McCrory filing his ethics form wrong was just an innocent mistake. But he’s long past being given the benefit of the doubt. He’s repeatedly obscured his financial relationships with companies doing business with the government. A little transparency a long time ago would have been a smart idea. Now, the onus is on him to prove that he’s not fleecing the people he was elected to represent. That’s not a good place for a sitting governor.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >