Commentary

McCrory, Tillis: Previously private sector partners or mere puffing politicians?

Pat McCrory 4Thom TillisWhat is it about the title “partner” that’s so attractive and impressive that prominent pols would go out of their way — and even stretch the truth a smidgen — to leave voters with the impression that they were in fact holders of such a moniker during their lives in the private sector?

First, it was new U.S. Senator Thom Tillis who went out of his way to make sure everyone knew that he was a “partner” at the corporate giants PriceWaterhouseCoopers and IBM before becoming a politician. As WRAL’s Mark Binker reported last year, this claim may have been sort of kind of technically true, but was also a bit of a stretch once Tillis landed at IBM.

Now the pol whose previous claims of “partner” status are in question is Gov. Pat McCrory. As the editorial page of the Charlotte Observer notes this morning in an op-ed entitled “McCrory vs. the truth — again”:

“Was Pat McCrory fibbing then, or is he fibbing now?

For years, McCrory was declared a partner in his brother’s firm. But on state ethics forms, the governor claimed he was merely a consultant, not a partner. There’s a big difference.

McCrory & Company, led by Pat’s brother Phil, made clear on its website what Pat McCrory’s role was. “Pat McCrory is a Partner with McCrory & Company,” the website said. “His major focus is client development, strategic planning and leadership consulting.”

When McCrory was elected governor in 2012, McCrory & Company issued a statement congratulating him. ‘We are proud to announce that McCrory & Company Partner, Pat McCrory has been elected Governor of the state of North Carolina and will begin his new responsibilities in early January, 2013.’…

….But on his statements of economic interest, McCrory called himself a consultant and a contractor. That would distance him from the company, and arguably require less disclosure. His chief legal counsel, Bob Stephens, issued a statement this week pooh-poohing the years of claims that he was a partner.

‘… The term partner was used as a working title. The governor has never had any legal standing as a partner with McCrory & Co. McCrory & Co. has never submitted any federal filings that listed Pat McCrory as a partner.’…

…McCrory may dismiss his McCrory & Company title inflation as mere false bravado, but it is made more disturbing by that pattern. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.”

The bottom line: Just be completely straight with us, guys. Voters can handle the truth and scruplous adherence to it can be very beneficial to your long-term political health.

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