A refrain is developing in the U.S. Senate race: The more money Thom Tillis comes across, the more problems he sees.
The House speaker is attending a fundraiser Wednesday at the offices of a Washington lobbying firm that will net him plenty of big checks but also may offer his rivals a political line of attack.
The firm? Barbour Griffith & Rogers Inc., otherwise known as the BGR Group. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour took flak for his firm, as critics linked him to its many clients. One particular client drew attention: the Mexican government. In 2001-2002, the firm lobbied “on immigration reforms sought by the Bush administration to provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and expand a temporary worker program to allow immigrants to work in the U.S,” according to an Associated Press report.
Tillis’ fundraiser at the firm plays into the hands of Republican primary opponents Greg Brannon and Mark Harris, who are trying to paint Tillis as an insider with ties to special interests. (Democrats are doing the same.)
Brannon also has criticized Tillis on immigration, writing earlier this year in a Facebook post: “If Republicans want to re-take control of the US Senate we cannot nominate a candidate who will go along with the DC establishment and push through amnesty. My primary opponent has supported efforts to allow illegal immigrants to skirt immigration laws. We must have respect for the rule of law. I will never vote for amnesty.”
Brannon did not offer specifics to support his claim. But legislation to crackdown on illegal immigration in recent years failed in the N.C. House under Tillis’ control. Gov. Pat McCrory also vetoed a bill – later overridden in the House and Senate – that expanded the exemption of seasonal workers from the immigration status check program called E-Verify.
Tillis spokesman Jordan Shaw said the campaign is trying to raise the money necessary to beat Democrat Kay Hagan and is not concerned about the perception of raising money at Barbour’s firm. “I think the speaker has shown a pretty clear track record of leading his own agenda,” Shaw said. “When you’re running a successful campaign you’re going to be attacked by your opponents.”
Barbour is scheduled to attend the lunch fundraiser, which has $500 minimum contribution. Other hosts listed: Dave Boyer, Lanny Griffith, Ryan Long, Loren Monroe, Dan Murphy, Erskine Wells and Bob Wood.
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Two major oversight committees meet Wednesday: unemployment insurance at 10 a.m. in room 544 of the legislative office building and elections at noon in the same room.
The information technology oversight panel is taking a field trip to ITS Western Data Center and the Facebook data center.
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The utility also filed a motion to remove a group of environmental organizations from the lawsuits, arguing they don’t have the legal authority to join the enforcement action. Alternately, the company asks if the judge hearing the cases decides the groups do have a right to join the suits, they be prohibited from expanding the claims already in the case. Read more here.
She took the opportunity at a meeting Tuesday of the Joint Legislative Commission on Energy Policy to counter allegations made in the ad by the North Carolina Environmental Partnership. She asked Mining and Energy Commission chairman James Womack, who was there to update legislators on the progress of fracking regulations, to defend her.
Womack noted that he lives in the Triassic basin in the center of the state near the Triangle that is believed to hold reserves of natural gas. “I’m not going to do anything that puts my kids at risk,” he said. “… There’s a lot of hype and alarm flying around out there. The truth is we’re going to do what’s sound, good science and good engineering.”
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Pickets in Wilmington demand higher pay for public safety workers. Read more here.
Federal investigators look into St. Aug’s grant. Read more here.
Investors Business Daily editorial -- Liberals can’t stand to see GOP succeed in NC. Read more here.
Meadows, Tillis call for natural gas strategy to rein in Russia’s Putin. Read more here.
NYT on Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon’s arrest. Read it here.
DHHS chief Wos says NC has met food stamp deadline. Read more here.