Gov. McCrory attacks media with accusations of “malicious” and inaccurate reporting -- but McCrory’s own comments are riddled with false claims.
“I’ve been very up front in my documentation”... “I followed the instructions on all the questionnaires” ... “I have followed all the rules and regulations required of public officials,” McCrory told a Charlotte TV station, as McCrory has failed to report Duke Energy stock ownership, failed to report Tree.com dividend income, and failed even to report that he was on the board of Tree.com.
RALEIGH -- With shameless hubris and hypocrisy, Gov. McCrory last week unleashed a full-throated attack on the media after the Associated Press reported that Gov. Pat McCrory failed to disclose a $185,000 payment from controversial mortgage broker Tree.com shortly after taking office. But McCrory’s own taped comments since this scandal erupted have been filled with false and misleading claims. Gov. McCrory’s taxpayer-funded communications stuff churned out a 34-page attack on the AP, but in just 6-minutes of taped interview on WSOC-TV, McCrory himself repeatedly offered bogus claims about his Statement of Economic Interest. McCrory told WSOC-TV in Charlotte:
- "I followed the instructions on all the questionnaires."
- "I've been very up front in my documentation."
- "I have followed all the rules and regulations required of public officials."
And Gov. McCrory told WRAL in Raleigh:
- "We did nothing improper. We did nothing unethical. We followed all the rules of North Carolina."
- "I've been filling those ethics forms out for 20-years."
- "We have followed what the form requested. We have been very transparent."
But in fact:
- Gov. McCrory failed to report ownership of Duke Energy stock on his 2014 Statement of Economic Interest (SEI).
- Gov. McCrory failed to report over $185,000 of dividend income from Tree.com on his 2014 SEI.
- And Gov. McCrory failed to report his membership position on the barod of directors of Tree.com on his 2013 SEI.
Question 19a of the 2013 Statement of Economic Interest asks whether an official served as a director or board member of any business. Since the form covers calendar year 2012, before McCrory resigned from Tree.com, experts told the Associated Press that the governor should have listed his affiliation with the company. The followup question, 19b, asks whether any of the affiliated businesses are directly regulated by the state. As Tree.com is based out of Charlotte and regulated by the State Banking Commission, it would have been extremely important for Gov. McCrory to list his association with the company. This is especially relevant given the fact that Tree.com has been accused of misleading customers in South Carolina and other states.
But the real “smoking gun” in this case is question 10 on the 2014 SEI, which asks officials to list all sources of income received during the previous calendar year. Gov. McCrory failed to list his Tree.com dividends, which he received in 2013.
“The facts could not be more clear-cut,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “Gov. McCrory failed to list his position at Tree.com in 2012, he failed to list the income he received from Tree.com in 2013, and he failed to list ownership of Duke Energy stock in 2013. Whether or not these omissions were intentional, the governor is now intentionally making false claims to cover up his pattern of errors. Incorrectly filling out an ethics document is one thing, but lying about it is much worse.
“To make matters worse, McCrory is attacking the media with claims of erroneous reporting while his own interviews are a minefield of false statements and misleading claims,” added Brenner. “The people of North Carolina deserve honest answers.”