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Court of Appeals denies Cooper’s latest bid to stop already merged ethics, elections board

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper

Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest effort to stop the merging of the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission failed, as the state Court of Appeals denied his request for a temporary stay pending his appeal of the new law.

The order, like many court orders in this case, does not state why the court denied Cooper’s request.

“The petition and motion filed in this cause by petitioner Roy A. Cooper, III, on 15 June 2017 and
designated ‘Plaintiff-Petitioner Roy A. Cooper, III’s Petition for Writ of Supersedeas and Motion for
Temporary Stay’ are decided as follows: The motion for temporary stay is denied. A ruling on the petition for writ of supersedeas will be made upon the filing of a response to the petition or the expiration of the time for a response if no response is filed.”

The order was issued Friday, the day after Cooper filed his request with the court. You can read more about the request here.

The two agencies have merged into the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, which is currently operating without a board. Cooper is supposed to appoint all eight members, four Democrats and four Republicans, of the new board from a list of names compiled by the majority parties.

Josh Lawson, General Counsel for the State Board of Elections, notified Cooper’s attorney of the vacancies in a June 5 email.

“I have advised the State Board Office to continue in the performance of its statutory duties and exercise of regulatory oversight of ethics, elections, and campaign finance as to all matters in which the statutes do not expressly require a vote of the State Board,” he states in the email.

Lawson adds that Senate Bill 68 does not provide for an interim board and general hold-over provisions are of little value because the law abolishes the Board of Elections and Ethics Commission.

Patrick Gannon, a spokesman for the new Board, said Monday that state ethics and elections staff are working to merge functions of the two former agencies to promote efficiency and transparency.

“Examples of these areas include the receipt and processing of required disclosure filings, required training, complaint evaluation, investigations and information technology resources, among others,” he said.

Cooper’s overall appeal is still pending.

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