By | December 2, 2019

Republicans who raided economic development fund for Eastern NC release report based on inaccuracies and bad facts

Governor Roy Cooper Press Release

Raleigh — After two years of baseless political accusations and wasted taxpayer money, Republican conspiracy theories about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline continue to fall flat in the face of undeniable facts.

Today’s report relies on inaccuracies and bad facts to reach illogical conclusions. Republican-hired investigators did, however, concede several critical facts that undermine their own conclusions:

No one in the Governor’s office interfered with the issuance of the ACP permits.
Duke did not think their permits were contingent on the mitigation fund or the solar settlement.
The Governor did not stand to benefit from any of this.
The only story that’s changed on this issue is the Republicans’ as they continue to shift their accusations when the facts become inconvenient for them.

First, Republicans alleged that the permit process was tinkered with to get the mitigation fund. That was proven false by testimony of DEQ experts who said they were not directed or pressured to do anything unusual with the permit process. The Duke whitepaper released today also says “ACP perceived nothing improper about the length of the process.”

Then, Republicans alleged that the Governor used the mitigation fund to benefit his political supporters. That bogus complaint was dismissed by the ethics commission and signed by the Republicans’ handpicked executive director. Today’s report even concedes “No information was identified from the investigation to show Governor Cooper personally benefited…”

Then, Republicans tried to suggest that a settlement on HB 589 was done for corrupt purposes. But it turns out that settlement was supported by Republican legislators and negotiated with the public staff of the Utilities Commission.
All Republicans have done successfully is hijack a fund meant to help with economic development in eastern North Carolina. This makes North Carolina the only ACP state without a fund since Virginia and West Virginia also have funds. If Republican legislators thought the money had been obtained illegally, they would have returned the money. But they didn’t, proving their only real concern was that they were not in control of the fund.

Republican legislators have been desperate to manufacture controversy in recent weeks to distract from their own ethics problems that have made them the most corrupt leadership in recent memory. Not only has their party chairman plead guilty to lying to the FBI, but their legislative leadership has come under fire for numerous ethical failures:

One Republican leader took a $500,000 loan, which he has not repaid, from a man indicted for bribing an elected official
Another Republican leader was caught using campaign money to pay his mortgage
A third Republican leader has been repeatedly accused of leveraging his official office to line his own pockets
“The report is wrong, and it is full of inaccuracies and contradictions that clearly ignore inconvenient facts. The report even concedes that the permit was done properly, that Duke believed the permits weren’t dependent on the fund or the solar settlement, and that the Governor did not benefit.

“Legislative Republicans are mired in deep ethical problems and they’ve lied to the public, the courts and their own colleagues and you can’t trust a word they say about anything, much less the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Governor Cooper has worked to bring economic prosperity to rural North Carolina, and these fake Republican attacks aren’t backed up by facts or reality,” said Governor’s office spokesperson Ford Porter.

How much longer will Republicans keep changing their story on this topic?