The Charlotte Observer’s editorial board takes House Speaker Thom Tillis to task in its Friday edition for missing key votes in the state House this week, opting instead to raise funds for his upcoming U.S. Senate bid against Kay Hagan:
Here’s an excerpt from “Tillis tries, but can’t serve two masters“:
‘Besides missing important House business, Tillis’ moonlighting has the look of the pay-to-play politics that Republicans decried among Democrats for so long. A superPAC for Tillis raised $70,000 from George A. Sywassink, R. Doyle Parrish and W.G. Champion Mitchell, newly released records show. Tillis’ House named all three to the UNC Board of Governors recently, including Sywassink after declaring there had been a vote-tallying error the first time around.
State law bars legislators from raising money from lobbyists during the legislative session, but the ban doesn’t apply to federal candidates like Tillis. So he can attend a fundraiser hosted by Royce Everette, a major consumer finance lender, days after the legislature approved a bill raising interest rates and fees for Everette’s industry.
It’s similar to what Hagan did in 2008, raising money for her Senate campaign even as she co-chaired the state Senate Appropriations Committee.
When Tillis announced his Senate bid, he said he would “raise money at the appropriate time.” “I don’t intend to campaign heavily and actively until after we get out of session,” he said.
It’s fine that Tillis is interested in higher office, and we don’t fault him for recognizing the need to raise millions. But the fiscal year started three weeks ago and the legislature still has not agreed on a budget. Tillis is missing sessions. His actions are raising questions of conflict of interest.
He has shown he can’t give his undivided attention to the N.C. House and the U.S. Senate at the same time. He should give up his Speaker’s gavel, resign from his House seat and give his full energy to his Senate bid, unencumbered by such distractions as running the state.’
You can read the full editorial here.