Under the Dome

McCrory sidesteps questions about ethics complaints

Governor Pat McCrory responds to a reporter's questions about ethics complaints.
Governor Pat McCrory responds to a reporter's questions about ethics complaints. lbonner@newsobserver.com

Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday shook off questions about the ethics complaints filed against him, saying that his “chief legal counsel” would be answering for him.

Progress NC Action, a liberal advocacy group, filed a complaint Monday with the State Ethics Commission seeking an inquiry into McCrory’s travel and previous ethics disclosure filings.

It came as McCrory, also on Monday, filed an updated form disclosing that others paid for seven trips in 2013 costing about $13,000. The trips were to meetings of the Republican Governors Association, the National Governors Association and the Southern Governors Association, and McCrory reported costs as paid by those groups.

Progress NC Action separately had already filed a complaint in January that centered on McCrory’s disclosures related to stock holdings in Duke Energy and Tree.com as well as his connection to McCrory & Company, a Charlotte-based sales consulting firm founded by his brother.

That complaint appears to be moving forward in the Ethics Commission, though McCrory’s office and Progress NC aren’t commenting. At the current stage of that process, McCrory’s team would be developing a formal response to the January complaint. Under the law, McCrory can take action to make the process an open one. But by default, the process is confidential.

McCrory’s counsel, Bob Stephens, has said the ethics form amendments were needed to correct his own misinterpretations of the ethics disclosure form’s questions.

Asked about the pending complaints Tuesday, McCrory responded with several versions of “our chief legal person is dealing with this issue.”

“We feel very confident in what we’ve done,” he said. “We’re going to move on.”