Under the Dome

Gov. Pat McCrory's brother rises to his defense

Gov. Pat McCrory's brother rose to his defense in an opinion piece published in The Charlotte Observer on Sunday, attempting to clarify conflicting descriptions of what the governor did when he worked at McCrory & Company, a sales consulting firm led by Phil McCrory.

A liberal organization, Progress N.C. Action, last week filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission raising questions about what it calls a pattern of omissions in the governor's state financial disclosure forms. Among the issues is that McCrory was described as a partner on the consulting company's website and in federal filings, but the governor described himself as a consultant and contractor in disclosures filed with the state.

The governor's chief legal counsel last week said he was never a partner in the legal sense. Phil McCrory underlined that in his newspaper piece, saying he and his brother were partners in the familial sense.

"That word, 'partner,' has a lot of meanings, legally and emotionally," Phil McCrory wrote. "I'm proud to call my brother my partner and have been my whole life."

He cites anecdotes from their past to illustrate his point, saying they were partners in: a paper route, in resurfacing tennis courts as young men, working with a boy in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and on Pat McCrory's run for city council in Charlotte.

Phil McCrory said his brother joined the consulting company he started in 1990 after losing the 2008 gubernatorial election. He said Pat McCrory never received a federal partnership tax form and never shared in profits. Further, he said, referring to his brother as a partner "felt natural" and made sense for marketing and business reasons.

Phil McCrory's piece echoes the governor's recent claims that he has been under attack by the news media and political interest groups because of his business experience. The article didn't address the governor's own description of himself, in brief remarks he made at a news conference last week, as a paid staffer rather than a consultant or contractor.