Governor McCrory amended his state ethics report today even as advocates at Progress NC blasted his previous failure to submit accurate reports as required by state law. In submitting the new and improved disclosures about the Guv’s trips to corporate-sponsored confabs of various governors’ associations, McCrory’s lawyer Bob Stephens — who sure seems to be having a hard time keeping up with laws that have been on the books for quite a while — stated that: “It is entirely appropriate for the RGA, NGA and SGA to pay travel expenditures for the Governor and staff to attend these meetings.”
To which, all a person who cares about our state and the integrity of its elected leaders can say is:
Why? Why is it appropriate for corporate-funded private organizations to pay to wing our public officials to swanky resorts and put them up in style?
If it is legal as Mr. Stephens contends, it’s an absurd and truck-sized gap in the state gift ban passed in the aftermath of the Jim Black scandal.
Here’s a radical concept and two-part solution that North Carolina ought to pursue to prevent such conflicts in the future:
1) Enact a law that makes it clear that when public officials are representing our state in or out of North Carolina in anything other than a partisan/election-related event, they must travel at public expense.
2) Pass an appropriation that gives officials like McCrory a travel budget to which they need to stick.
This way, a) officials can budget their time and expenses like just about everyone else and b) we won’t have to worry about our them feeling beholden to anyone other than the taxpayers.