Pat McCrory 4The scathing assessments of Gov. Pat McCrory’s job performance continue to multiply — and, no, this is not a reference to Sen. Tom Apodaca’s observation that “the Governor doesn’t play much of a role in anything.”

The new take-down comes from the editorial board of the Winston-Salem Journal, which blasts the Guv this morning over his performance in the Paul Foley affair:

“The Associated Press reported late last week that ‘the chief legal counsel for Gov. Pat McCrory knew almost a year ago that Paul Foley’s law firm had received more than $1.3 million in payments [for legal work] from the target of an investigation into questionable political donations. However, Bob Stephens didn’t say anything to McCrory about the potential conflict of interest or other issues with Foley, a Winston-Salem lawyer … McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis said.’

This wasn’t Stephens’ first problem as chief counsel. McCrory and Stephens owe us all a full accounting of this latest one. As The Charlotte Observer said in an editorial Sunday, McCrory ‘should either stop throwing [Stephens] under a bus, or he should dismiss Stephens for poor judgment and incompetence.’”

As the Journal goes on to point out, the public deserves a much more thorough explanation:

“What does trouble us is fact that the governor acted far too late on the Foley issue. McCrory and Stephens both work for us. They both us owe us a full accounting of what they knew and when they knew it.

Perception is everything in politics, and, most important, public trust. Good leaders respond quickly to problems of perception to retain the public trust. Gov. McCrory responded far too late to the conflict of interest in this case.”

Sadly, given his past performance in so many other areas, one has to seriously wonder whether the Governor is actually capable of providing a coherent and convincing explanation of what the heck actually happened. Read the entire editorial by clicking here.

The State Board of Elections - Foley on the left, Howard in the center.

The State Board of Elections – Paul Foley on the left, Chairman Josh Howard in the center.

The scandal surrounding the forced, late night resignation of State Board of Elections member Paul Foley has given rise to some pretty creative wordsmithing by SBOE chair Josh Howard. How else to explain these two facts from this story by the Raleigh News & Observer’s Craig Jarvis:

#1- Foley lied repeatedly about his knowledge of his law firm’s representation of a controversial video sweepstakes business. He even did it publicly on Wednesday during an SBOE meeting.

#2 – When Foley decided finally to resign late Wednesday night, Howard issued a statement in which he said, among other things, “There has been no finding of wrongdoing by Mr. Foley….”

I suppose Howard’s claim is technically true in some sense — no official investigator has, apparently,  yet, made any formal finding that Foley violated any laws. But good grief, the man out and out lied to Howard and the rest of the Board and the public about a highly important matter just hours before he resigned. That would seem to be an obvious and blatant bit of wrongdoing that Howard would have to be a complete nincompoop not to see.

All of which makes a citizen wonder what else Foley lied about during his stint on the Board and what other acts Chairman Howard and his colleagues are carefully parsing their words over.

Good government watchdog Bob Hall told Jarvis:

“I’ve never seen a board member, Republican or Democrat, so miserably fail to recognize their duty to serve the public interest, rather than a selfish business or partisan interest. The State Board of Elections had no hope of being a credible agency if Foley continued to serve and be accepted as a member by his peers.”

Howard’s carefully worded statement is enough to make a person wonder whether Hall was being extremely charitable.
Paul Foley

SBOE member Paul Foley with presidential candidate Donald Trump – Image:

The Winston-Salem Journal became the latest major newspaper this morning to call for Governor Pat McCrory to remove his appointee, Republican lawyer  Paul Foley, from the state Board of Elections. The editorial, which cited Foley’s troubling behavior surrounding the Board’s investigation of a sweepstakes company owner that was also a client of his law firm, came at almost the same time that Associated Press reported new and disturbing developments in the ongoing investigation of Foley related to the elimination of a voting site at Appalachian State University.

After summarizing his behavior in the sweepstake investigation (in which he repeatedly questioned Board of Elections staff and failed to disclose his obvious conflict of interest) the editorial concludes this way:

“Foley has shown he can’t be trusted to understand and fulfill his responsibilities. His continued presence on the board could hurt its credibility.  If he won’t realize that and step down, Gov. McCrory should remove him.”

The Journal editorial comes on the heels of one in yesterday’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer that said this:

“The public relies on the State Board of Elections to oversee honest elections and fair enforcement of election laws. Foley can no longer fulfill those roles credibly. He should step down or the governor should ask for his resignation.”

Meanwhile, this is from this morning’s AP story on Foley’s involvement in the A.S.U. voting site matter:
“Paul Foley, a Republican member of the the North Carolina elections board from Winston-Salem, worked closely with local officials in their effort to eliminate a heavily Democratic voting site, a plan a judge ruled was intended to suppress voter turnout, according to hundreds of emails reviewed by The Associated Press.
The state Board of Elections is supposed to act as a neutral arbiter when policy disputes arise involving county elections boards. The emails show that Foley worked closely behind the scenes with GOP officials in Watauga County as they crafted a plan to eliminate the early voting site at Appalachian State University.”

Coming, as they have, at the very moment that Republican officials are trying to defend their relentless and transparent efforts to rig and suppress voting in a federal court trial in Winston-Salem, you’d think these latest revelations would prompt Governor McCrory to ax Foley ASAP. Based on his penchant for waffling and indecisive leadership in so many other controversies, however, it seems just as likely that the Guv will ignore the matter and head off to another ribbon cutting somewhere. Stay tuned.


Michele Jawando, Vice President of the Legal Progress project at the D.C.-based Center for American Progress, faxed a letter to the North Carolina State Board of Elections this afternoon voicing concern over “barriers to voting that need to be immediately addressed.” This is from the letter:

Today, however, there is evidence of barriers to voting in North Carolina that need to be immediately addressed. For example, there are reports that voting machines in Guilford County have registered incorrect votes; polling places in predominantly African American neighborhoods have been down; a polling place near Bennett College, a historically black college, having incorrect voter rolls; and another polling place missing essential thumb drives. Finally, around the Charlotte metropolitan area, voters have been confused about their precinct location. This is particularly troubling, as this is the first election that voters will not be permitted to cast provisional ballots in an incorrect precinct.

These examples of failed vote tabulation, incorrect voter rolls, and precinct confusion make it clear that voters in North Carolina are not freely able to exercise this most cherished right. We call upon the state board of elections to investigate and address these issues immediately to ensure that North Carolinians can exercise their legal right to vote.

Read the entire letter by clicking here.


This new report is just in from the watchdogs at Democracy North Carolina:

“Disclosure Law Shields State Legislators, Donors

As the General Assembly debates who should control the State Bureau of Investigation’s ability to probe political corruption, a new study says many state legislators are shielding themselves – and their donors – from scrutiny by filing incomplete, misleading, or hard-to-decipher campaign reports.

Under state law, legislative candidates must file six reports during the two-year campaign period to disclose who is donating to their campaigns and how the money is used.

But the election watchdog group Democracy North Carolina found that 92 of the 170 legislators

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