Under the Dome

Dome: State Ethics Commission fines two political appointees

August 26, 2013 

The State Ethics Commission decided to fine two political appointees for not submitting their required financial disclosure form and let 24 others who missed the deadline avoid the penalty.

Debbie Riley Hobbs, a gubernatorial appointee to the Sandhills Community College Board of Trustees, filed her Statement of Economic Interest July 29 – about three months after the April 15 deadline. Daniel Ayscue, a N.C. House appointee to the Housing Partnership, still has not filed his form. Both received $250 fines.

Twenty others appointed to boards such as the N.C. Museum of Art, State Personnel Commission and Rules Review Commission filed late. And four more still have not submitted a SEI. The ethics commission weighed the circumstances of each case and decided not to fine them at the Friday meeting.

All political appointees to boards and commissions must file the disclosure forms listing assets and financial ties. A year ago, the board fined 10 appointees and recommended four officials be removed from office for not filing their required forms.

Later at the meeting, the commission weighed how to handle complaints about violations of the state lobbying law. The oversight authority is split between the commission and the secretary of state’s office after a recent state court ruling, said Perry Newson, the executive director.

In a back-and-forth discussion, the ethics commission voted not to accept anonymous complaints, even though the secretary of state’s office does accept them. The commission argued that it is following the same model on ethics complaints, which requires complainants to disclose their names. Further rules are still being drafted.

Woodhouse leaving AFP

Dallas Woodhouse is leaving his job as state director for Americans for Prosperity to “pursue business opportunities in the political arena,” according to the organization.

Woodhouse has been with AFP since 2006 and has been state director since 2007.

The group saw a number of its priorities realized this legislation session, including a new voucher program, a change in the tax code, and looser regulations.

Schlafly cheers N.C. laws

National conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly cheered the state new law limiting the early voting period because the Obama campaign used early voting to its advantage.

In a column published Tuesday on the website of WND, Schlafly wrote: “The reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important because early voting plays a major role in Obama’s ground game. The Democrats carried most states that allow many days of early voting, and Obama’s national field director admitted, shortly before last year’s election, that “early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election.”

Schlafly, who is probably most famous for her campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, also praised stricter abortion clinic regulations, the end to teacher tenure, the new cursive writing requirement and the cut to unemployment benefits.

Traffic alert

Watch out for picketers on Glenwood Avenue Tuesday. The AFL-CIO will have members picketing on the sidewalk across from the Carolina Country Club Tuesday.

They will be protesting the policies of the GOP legislature while the N.C. Republican House Caucus Leadership is inside the Raleigh club holding a fundraiser

“Minimum-wage earners in North Carolina never got a fair hearing from Republican leadership in the General Assembly this year, much less an inflation-adjusted increase in their poverty-level wages,” says the media advisory from the AFL-CIO.

Among other things, the labor group notes that the contribution limit for an individual will soon be able to rise from $4,000 to $5,000 per election.

The admission price for the reception ranges from $10,000 for 12 tickets to the VIP and general receptions to as low as $150 for an individual ticket.

Staff writers John Frank, Lynn Bonner and Rob Christensen

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