Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Senator, Is That the Cookie Jar in Your Hand?

Ralph Hise
NC Senator Ralph Hise, who represents the neighboring 47th District (Mitchell, Yancey, McDowell, Madison, Rutherford, and Polk counties), was first elected to the General Assembly in the 2010 Tea Party steam bath. He has recently risen like the cream-of-corruption to the top of the tea kettle.

In March of this year, independent researcher and gadfly Greg Flynn filed complaints with the State Board of Elections about irregularities and apparent violations of elections law he found in Senator Hise's campaign finance reports:
Excess repayment of personal loans (Hise appears to have pocketed some $10,000 in extra cash)
Incomplete contributor information (missing addresses, names of employers, etc.)
Unitemized disbursements
"Irregular" entries (amendments to reports suggesting adjustments to "reconcile unrecorded payments"
Failure to report almost $10,000 in PAC contributions
The State Board of Elections opened an investigation on March 10 and informed Senator Hise that he should submit a response to the complaint by March 20 (see correspondence from SBOE to Hise at the link above). Hise replied that his treasurer (Shirley Hise) was "unable to assist at this time," and he asked for an additional 45 days to respond.

Those 45 days expired on May 4, and according to watchdogs DemocracyNC, Hise still had not responded as of May 8.

Senator Hise is chair of the Senate Select Committee on Elections and has had a hand in the attempted restructuring of the State Board of Elections (to deprive Gov. Roy Cooper of appointment and oversight power), and he now clearly has a huge personal interest in making sure that the people running the State Board of Elections are sufficiently partisan. DemocracyNC is calling for him to recuse himself from the Select Committee on Elections while he is under investigation.

The other thing to note: It took an independent citizen looking at public records to blow the whistle on Sen. Hise. Why? Because the SBOE doesn't have the staff to look at flagrant violations of reporting standards?

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