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Gov. McCrory's Financial Ties Questioned in Ethics Complaint

PHOTO: The North Carolina State Ethics Commission is reviewing a 50-page complaint filed by Progress North Carolina Action, alleging conflicts of interest between Governor Pat McCrory's private financial ties and his public duties as governor. Photo credit: Governor's office.
PHOTO: The North Carolina State Ethics Commission is reviewing a 50-page complaint filed by Progress North Carolina Action, alleging conflicts of interest between Governor Pat McCrory's private financial ties and his public duties as governor. Photo credit: Governor's office.
January 13, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. - As Governor Pat McCrory begins the second half of his term this week, McCrory is facing allegations of ethics violations in a 50-page complaint.

Progress North Carolina Action filed the ethics complaint against the governor, accusing him of failing to disclose ownership of stock in Duke Energy, failing to report income from Tree.com, and failing to report he was on the board of Tree.com.

Gerrick Brenner, the executive director of Progress North Carolina Action, says it shows a pattern of omission and incomplete answers covering up conflicts of interest.

"This is not some mid-level bureaucrat in state government who failed to report rental income," says Brenner. "This is the chief executive of the ninth-largest state in the nation, who campaigned on transparency and open and clean government. His ethics forms are a mess."

McCrory has previously denied any wrongdoing, and said it would be inappropriate to respond to "a left-wing, very closed-eyed group" when questioned about the complaint at a news conference on Monday.

The complaint also alleges discrepancies in how the governor describes his relationship with the firm McCrory and Company. Brenner says public documents and the firm's own website describe the governor as a "partner," while McCrory has only described himself as a "consultant."

"By only calling himself a consultant, he doesn't have to answer key questions on the Statement of Economic Interest which would reveal and acknowledge that McCrory and Co. has business dealings with the state," says Brenner. "This raises concerns about other conflicts of interest."

Brenner says it's a felony to intentionally fail to disclose financial interests on Statements of Economic Interest, and adds that he hopes the State Ethics Commission launches an investigation.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NC