Courts & the Law

Supreme Court ruling spurs letters between attorneys for Cooper, Elections/Ethics Board

The merged Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement will continue to perform clerical and administrative tasks necessary to meet all deadlines imposed by all the courts involved in litigation, according to a letter sent to Gov. Roy Cooper.

The state Supreme Court last week struck down a law merging the two agencies — the Board of Elections and the Ethics Commission — which have operated together since April. It sent the case back down to the lower court for a final judgement “not inconsistent” with its decision, which was made along party lines.

In the meantime, the Board will continue to function as it has under the law that was struck down.

Cooper’s attorney, William McKinney, sent a letter Monday reminding the Board that until a final judgement is entered by the lower court (they won’t get the case until Feb. 15), they must “halt all activity relating to, or in support of, the merger of the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission.”

“Moreover, the staff should refrain from taking any substantive action with respect to elections or ethics law policy decisions,” the letter states.

The Board’s attorney, Josh Lawson, replied Wednesday to McKinney’s letter. He enclosed a copy of the current elections schedule (not yet reflecting redistricting or reinstated judicial appellate primaries).

“Operation of day-to-day functions regarding elections, campaign finance, ethics compliance remain ongoing,” Lawson wrote. “The Agency’s civil staff continue in service to our State consistent with Board policies and will undertake no effort to avoid any order effectuating the decision of our Supreme Court.”

You can read both letters in full below.

SBE Letter by NC Policy Watch on Scribd

Correspondence (McKinney) 2018-1-31 by NC Policy Watch on Scribd

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