Raleigh, N.C. — Officials with the North Carolina Democratic Party say they filed a public records request to find out who paid for Gov. Pat McCrory to fly to Washington, D.C., when he appeared on national news programs to defend House Bill 2.
It turns out, all they had to do was ask.
"State. It's official business," McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis said Wednesday when asked that question.
The Democrats announced their records request during a news conference Wednesday morning. They pointed to McCrory's interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News over the weekend as well as his April 17 appearance on "Meet the Press."
"It’s time for Gov. McCrory to show who’s paying for his campaign interview tour,” Democratic Party Chairwoman Patsy Keever said.
Her request goes further than asking who is paying for the trips. It requests bills and records of how much was paid.
McCrory, a Republican, is in the midst of heated re-election battle against Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper. Cooper has refused to defend House Bill 2 in court, and the two men have slammed each other's positions on the bill, which deals with what bathrooms transgender individuals can use, the right to sue for wrongful termination and the limits put on public protections for LGBT individuals.
The federal government is suing the state, asking a federal court to determine that the law is discriminatory. That move could put federal funding for education and other needs at risk. As well, there has been backlash from the business community.
Most, but not all, Democratic lawmakers and state officials have advocated for the repeal of House Bill 2. Keever said that McCrory's appearances on national news programs amount to campaigning.
"As long as the taxpayers are not paying for it, he can do what he wants to do," Keever said Wednesday.
Ellis said that assertion "ridiculous" and said the appearances were part of his official duties.
"The governor will continue to proudly do his job in fulfilling the role and responsibility of his oath of office," Ellis said.
McCrory's campaign spokesman, Ricky Diaz, said, "The governor was doing his job and defending the state, unlike Roy Cooper, who is coordinating with his far-left allies from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco to hurt North Carolina's image and economy for their own political gain."