Under the Dome

November 15, 2013

Democrats say McCrory administration should reimburse taxpayers for retreat

Gov. Pat McCrory and members of his administration attended a private retreat for GOP donors on Thursday. Democratic group Progress NC Action is calling on the state to reimburse taxpayers for the cost, but McCrory's backers said reimbursement isn't needed.

On Thursday, several members of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration attended an event in Greensboro for pro McCrory donors, and a Democratic group thinks they should reimburse the state for the cost.

Progress NC Action, a Democratic group, asked for reimbursement for McCrory and his staff who attended a meeting this week at the Grandover Resort for Renew North Carolina, a pro McCrory group that has been financing the TV ads touting the governor’s accomplishments.

“Renew NC should reimburse the state for any taxpayer money used to support Gov. McCrory’s reelection efforts,” said Gerrick Brenner of Progress NC.

Brian Nick, a spokesman for Renew North Carolina, said that would not be appropriate because members of the governor’s administration frequently talk to groups across the state about policy.

He compared it to administration officials talking to a Rotary Club, the NFIB, or groups that are involved in advocacy.

“I am not sure why they would be calling into question this particular venue,” Nick said. “It was literally a policy panel discussion.”

Nick said on Thursday morning four administration members participated in two panel discussions. An economic development panel included adviser Tony Almeida, and Dale Folwell, assistant secretary for employment. A second panel on budget and taxes included Art Pope, the state’s budget director, and Jeff Epstein, the Department of Revenue’s chief operating officer.

In addition, Nick said that Thomas Stith, the governor’s chief of staff, attended the Wednesday evening dinner to honor the late political strategist Jack Hawke, who founded Renew North Carolina.

Nick said about 75 persons attended the retreat. The event cost as little as $1,000 or as much as $10,000 per couple. But for those who paid yearly memberships – ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, there was no additional costs.

The Foundation has spent about $800,000 on TV ads this fall to boost McCrory’s public image.

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