Friday, January 16, 2015

When "Partner" Is Just a "Working Title"

In an editorial today, Gov. Pat McCrory's hometown paper asks, "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.
It's important that you understand the difference, even though McCrory himself doesn't want you to notice. ProgressNC, which first uncovered the discrepancy, explains:
RALEIGH -- In response to questions raised in the 54-page ethics complaint Progress NC Action filed on Monday, Gov. McCrory has refused to provide a clear explanation of his work relationship with McCrory & Company. Gov. McCrory keeps changing his story when asked what his role at McCrory & Co. was. His true job title is key to ethical disclosure requirements.
Was McCrory a “partner?” Federal Securities and Exchange Commission filings by the companies and Kewaunee Scientific, made under penalty of perjury, as well as McCrory & Company’s own website, listed Gov. McCrory as a “partner.” 
Or was McCrory only a “consultant?” On Gov. McCrory’s Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) filings disclosing income from McCrory & Company, the governor lists himself as a “consultant.” In listing himself as only a “consultant,” McCrory does not have to disclose if McCrory & Co. has material business dealings with the state.
Or was McCrory a staff employee? In response to a reporter’s question on Monday, Gov. McCrory stated that he was “paid staff for my brother.” (WRAL, 1/12/15)

Or was McCrory not really a partner, but a pretend partner? Later on Monday afternoon, the governor’s attorney, Bob Stephens, released a statement acknowledging Gov. McCrory was a partner of McCrory & Company, but that it was only a “working title.” (News and Observer, 1/12/15) 
If Gov. McCrory was a partner of McCrory & Company, or even if he was just an employee, as “paid staff” would imply, then he was required to disclose that on question 19A of his SEI. That would have forced Gov. McCrory to answer question 19B, which asks if any company listed in 19A has material business dealings with the state of North Carolina.
“Gov. McCrory’s contradictory statements continue an obvious pattern of a Governor who has been unable or unwilling to fully disclose his income, ownership interests, and conflicts of interest on public ethics forms as required by state law,” said Gerrick Brenner, Exec. Director of ProgressNC Action. “Intentionally omitting key information from state ethics forms would be a crime. Clearly, the State Ethics Commission should initiate an investigation to determine if these obvious omissions and discrepancies were deliberate."

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