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Governor McCrory To Disclose Another $13K On Ethics Form

Pat McCrory
Credit Dave DeWitt
Governor McCrory is facing questions about conflicts of interest from a left-leaning group. A spokesman said nothing illegal has taken place and disclosure forms are now correct.

Governor Pat McCrory has amended a state ethics form to include travel expenditures that were previously omitted. 

The form, submitted on Friday and officially filed Monday, shows seven trips valued at more than $13,000.

The trips were paid for by outside groups and include National Governors Association (NGA), Republican Governors Association (RGA) and Southern Governors Association (SGA) Events. All the travel occurred in 2013. McCrory had not previously disclosed these trips on his statement of economic interest. This amended disclosure follows a week of pressure from Progress NC Action.

"This is a clear pattern of a Governor who really just doesn't want to seem to disclose conflicts of interest. And it really does run in sharp contrast to what he runs around the state telling everybody," said Executive Director Gerrick Brenner.

The Governor's chief legal counsel had previously said the travel was paid in the form of a scholarship and didn't need to be disclosed. McCrory's office released a statement Monday afternoon, quoting Chief Legal Counsel Bob Stephens:

"It is entirely appropriate for the RGA, NGA and SGA to pay travel expenditures for the Governor and staff to attend these meetings. This is an accepted practice for governors around the country and does not require the use of any taxpayer money to attend these important functions. We have consistently interpreted the word "scholarship" to not include travel expenses. However, after inquiring of the Ethics Commission staff, we've been told these expenditures should be reported and we have submitted the supplemental information for the 2014 SEI form." 

At the same of the new disclosure forms, Progress NC Action filed another complaint with the state Ethics Commission.

In January, the group filed a complaint alleging a pattern of ethics law violations by the Governor. Those claims centered on stock holdings McCrory had with Duke Energy and Lending tree. A preliminary review period passed and neither McCrory nor the group would say if the complaint was dismissed.

It's possible an investigation was opened last week, though that would be protected by state confidentiality laws. Brenner says the Governor has the ability to open any investigation to the public and is calling on the Governor to do so.

Jeff Tiberii is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Jeff joined WUNC in 2011. During his 20 years in public radio, he was Morning Edition Host at WFDD and WUNC’s Greensboro Bureau Chief and later, the Capitol Bureau Chief. Jeff has covered state and federal politics, produced the radio documentary “Right Turn,” launched a podcast, and was named North Carolina Radio Reporter of the Year four times.
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