Raleigh, N.C. — Hours after Gov. Pat McCrory called on him to step down and after initially refusing to do so, Paul Foley resigned from the State Board of Elections following disclosures he pressed for details in an investigation that involved one of his law firm's clients.
Elections board Chairman Josh Howard announced Foley's resignation early Thursday.
In a statement, Foley said he hoped his resignation would help "avoid distractions from the important work of the board."
Howard said in an email to Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach that he "regretfully" accepted Foley's resignation.
"There has been no finding of wrongdoing by Mr. Foley, and the report we requested from the Attorney General found no improper influence by Mr. Foley over the outcome of the Board's efforts in the matter of Chase Burns and IIT, LLC," Howard's email said. "I appreciate Mr. Foley's dedicated service to the Board of Elections and the many hours he has committed to the board and the citizens of North Carolina."
The board met in Raleigh Wednesday to hear a report on a case involving donations from video sweepstakes gambling companies to the campaigns of North Carolina politicians, including McCrory. That investigation stemmed from a 2013 complaint by Democracy North Carolina and involved Burns and his company, IIT.
According to a report released by the Attorney General's Office earlier this month, Foley officially recused himself from the investigation but frequently pressured state board investigators for updates and early copies of the report at the same time his firm represented Burns and IIT.
"I never attempted to, and had no reason to, influence the outcome of the investigation," Foley said in a brief statement read by telephone at the beginning of Wednesday's board meeting.
Foley was out of town for business and did not participate in the part of the meeting dealing with the sweepstakes investigation.
Campaign records show that Foley helped raise money for McCrory during the 2012 gubernatorial campaign.
North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Hasan Harnett will submit three nominees to McCrory to replace Foley. The governor will appoint a successor to serve until May 1, 2017.