Editorial: McCrory's Pattern of Ethics Omissions
The Charlotte Observer is out with an editorial blasting Governor McCrory for what has become a pattern of omissions from his legally required ethics filings. While Governor McCrory continues to claim that each instance is simply an oversight, after 5 or 6 oversights that other politicians don't make, it's hard to take the Governor's word a face value.
What is going on in Gov. Pat McCrory’s office? Why do he and his lawyers keep having such a hard time filling out ethics forms correctly?
McCrory was forced to change his state disclosure reports on Monday when it was revealed that he had failed, again, to disclose required information.
The Republican Governors Association covered more than $13,000 in travel costs for McCrory to attend events across the country in 2013. That’s common practice. Failing to disclose it on ethics forms is not. Other state leaders, including Sen. Phil Berger and then House Speaker Thom Tillis, disclosed similar benefits on their forms.
McCrory’s chief legal counsel, Bob Stephens, emphasized Monday that the RGA routinely covers such expenses and defended that as “an accepted practice.” In doing so, Stephens misunderstands the problem as badly as he misunderstands the ethics form. The primary concern, obviously, is not that the RGA paid McCrory’s expenses. The concern is that McCrory failed to disclose the benefit he received.
Stephens said he misunderstood the form, which asks if the official accepted a “scholarship” worth more than $200 to attend an out-of-state meeting. Stephens said he interpreted “scholarship” not to include travel expenses.
The ethics form explains as part of the question: “A ‘scholarship’ is a grant-in-aid to attend a conference, meeting, or similar event.”
McCrory and Stephens need to do less interpreting and put the ethics commission on speed dial.