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 >
Anyone notice McCrory having sold his stock in Spectra Energy a couple/few months before the company announced just a week or so ago that its bid to build a second interstate pipeline that would have traveled through NC is being shelved. See http://www.robesonian.com/news/news/50132968/Potential-pipeline-bidder-opts-out#.U_O7V6Ox3fM. Deft financial move by the Governor! Bet other less well-connected Spectra stockholders would have liked to have known what McCrory apparently may have. Spectra is a spin-off of Duke Energy, so I guess its natural McCrory would have a stake in that too . . . since the Company wanted to build a pipeline right through eastern NC and all . . . . Too much heat from Duke and Spectra? Or just clairvoyant-like financial prognostication?
Very good question, Ben and one that deserves an answer.
“Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive.”, Sir Walter Scott
McCrory fights with that “liberal, left-wing” media because there are too many people in NC who believe that the “liberal news media” stereotype. If voters want to continue to prop up ‘reformers’ who engage in corrupt activities followed by outraged press releases that brag about ‘ethics’ – then NC gets what it deserves.
Lots of questions. Lots of questionable moves. Lots of hard-to-fathom and hard-to-pin-down dealings with law firms and large corporations. Lots of claims of accidental or common mistakes, and of “doing nothing wrong.”. Lots of childish reactions and responses to media inquiries. In sum, and in my opinion, lots of smoke. And you know that old saw about “where there’s smoke…..”. Too bad the SBI is now under his control.
On Wednesday, Governor McCrory stated that he “misspoke” about his holdings in Duke Energy stock – his former employer – when the coal ash spills were tainting North Carolina’s fresh water supplies. It has come to light that he sold his investments only when bad press began to roll in about the spills.
Yesterday the Governor released a statement scolding the press and offering a Nixonian-like explanation of his filings with the State Ethics Commission. (And this is not the first time that the Governor has played three card monti with the people of North Carolina.)
Before he was even elected, McCrory misled the people of North Carolina in a televised debate, stating that he would not sign any bills that limited access to women’s health care. Less than a year later, we saw the infamous “Motorcycle Abortion” law passed by the extreme-GOP led General Assembly and signed into law by Governor McCrory.
Governor McCrory has a pattern of misleading the general public and a Nixon-like obsession with secrecy and obsfucation. During the campaign he refused to release information about his financial holdings and now that we are privy to the truth, he let his lawyer speak on his behalf before throwing his lawyer under the bus.
In light of the fact that the Governor said in his press release responding to the media that he is proud of his record of public accomplishment, one has to wonder where he hangs hat?
Given the mess that his administration has made with DHHS, the high profile resignations in his cabinet and his recent move to take control of the SBI one wonders about the metrics the governor is using to judge his performance.
It is time for the Governor to simply level with the people of North Carolina and let them know whether his past relationships and investments may have compromised his ability to ensure that the people of North Carolina will have access to good quality drinking water and can expect open and transparent government in Raleigh.