Political donors score GOP appointments, but is the practice eth - WNCN: News, Weather

WNCN Investigates

Political donors score GOP appointments, but is the practice ethical?

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Campaign finance records uncovered last week show three men recently appointed by the GOP-controlled General Assembly to the UNC Board of Governors were donors to speaker Thom Tillis's Super PAC, which is trying to get him a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Two of the appointees were longtime donors to his House campaigns.

Tillis' staff denied the House speaker had any influence over their appointments, but Democrats still cried foul.

"Speaker Tillis is using the House agenda to finance his U.S. Senate campaign," said Ben Ray, with the North Carolina Democratic Party.

After further investigation, WNCN found 14 of this year's 16 Board of Governors appointees were GOP donors. But political experts say that shouldn't be a surprise, and it's not necessarily wrong.

"It's not as bad as the other side makes it seem," says David McLennan, a political expert with William Peace University. "The governor and the speaker want to appoint people to boards and commissions that reflect their own points of view."

Ben Ray, with the democratic party, counters, "It certainly seems that with such a high percentage of appointees being donors that it's on the way to being a prerequisite."

By law, lawmakers can make those appointment, but it often appears to the other side as pay-for-play politics. McLennan said it would only be considered unethical if a board member were promised an appointment in exchange for a donation.

It's not just legislators rewarding donors. Just last week, Gov. Pat McCrory appointed 15 supporters to the Governors Western Residence Board of Directors. Their job is to maintain McCrory's tax-payer funded Asheville retreat and plan functions there.

Once again, the governor did reward some donors with these ceremonial posts. WNCN found at least five out of the 15 appointed have made donations to the GOP or to McCory's campaign directly.

But why so many members?

"This particular board does not have a whole lot of power [or] a whole lot of responsibility," McLennan said.

They aren't paid, so what do they get out of the deal?

"It's primarily access to the governor," McLennan explained. "When the governor is out in the western part of the state, he will host a function for these 15 people."

And they can host their own events at the residence.

McCrory also appointed several GOP mega-donors to his cabinet.

Democrats say the recent UNC appointments are hypocritical after Republicans accused former Gov. Bev Perdue of similar favors.

RELATED ARTICLES

Jonathan Carlson

Jonathan is an investigative reporter and anchor with over a decade of experience. Jonathan has broken stories that have resulted in local and statewide change. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Marijuana group celebrates 4/20 with new Raleigh chapter

    Marijuana group celebrates 4/20 with new Raleigh chapter

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:27:43 GMT
    On this twentieth day of April, 4/20, some people in Raleigh are pushing for changes to the state's marijuana laws.The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, celebrated the unofficial weed holiday with some music in downtown Raleigh. The group re-opened a Raleigh chapter and it hopes to convince state lawmakers to follow the lead of Colorado and Washington in decriminalizing or even legalizing some pot possession.
    On this twentieth day of April, 4/20, some people in Raleigh are pushing for changes to the state's marijuana laws.The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, celebrated the unofficial weed holiday with some music in downtown Raleigh. The group re-opened a Raleigh chapter and it hopes to convince state lawmakers to follow the lead of Colorado and Washington in decriminalizing or even legalizing some pot possession.
  • McIntyre's retirement opens door for GOP in NC 7th

    McIntyre's retirement opens door for GOP in NC 7th

    Sunday, April 20 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-04-20 16:33:02 GMT
    Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre will retire after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district.Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre will retire after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district.
    With McIntyre announcing his retirement after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district, Rouzer is back on the ballo.    
    With McIntyre announcing his retirement after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district, Rouzer is back on the ballo.    
  • Hagan contrasts persona, GOP in NC Senate campaign

    Hagan contrasts persona, GOP in NC Senate campaign

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-04-19 15:51:50 GMT
    Kay Hagan's self-identification as a middle-of-the-road U.S. senator who fights for the middle class, among other groups, and responds effectively to constituent requests may sound trite coming from any politician's mouth seeking re-election.
    Kay Hagan's self-identification as a middle-of-the-road U.S. senator who fights for the middle class, among other groups, and responds effectively to constituent requests may sound trite coming from any politician's mouth seeking re-election.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.