The State Ethics Commission has found that at least seven of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Cabinet appointments do not have conflicts of interest that would disqualify them from serving, although the commission cautioned four of them who have the potential for such conflicts.
That potential doesn’t prohibit them from taking office, according to the commission, which has issued letters informing the governor of its findings.
The four Cabinet secretaries singled out for having the potential for conflicts due to their previous jobs are Michael Regan at the Department of Environmental Quality, Dr. Mandy Cohen at the Department of Health and Human Services, Susi Hamilton at the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and Tony Copeland at the Department of Commerce.
No actual or potential conflicts were found for Erik Hooks of the Department of Public Safety, Machelle Sanders at the Department of Administration or Larry Hall at the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs. Jim Trogdon at the Department of Transportation has not been reviewed yet, according to the governor’s office.
Cooper has yet to name the secretaries of the departments of Revenue and Information Technology.
Regan owns an environmental consulting firm and used to work for the Environmental Defense Fund. Cohen worked at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and her husband is a health-care attorney who mostly handles federal issues.
Copeland was a partner in a law firm focused on economic development with state grants, and his wife manages a power-cord manufacturing company. Hamilton and her husband own a marketing and government relations firm and a real estate company, and her husband works for the city of Wilmington.
The ethics letter on Regan was first reported by WTVD, and the remaining letters were first reported on by WRAL.