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McCrory appoints executives, campaign donors to economic development board

Posted July 15, 2013

Gov. Pat McCrory

— Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed a slate of 22 business executives, most of who are also campaign donors, to the North Carolina Economic Development Board.

The 37-member board, which will hold a meeting on Wednesday, "oversees state economic development research and planning and makes policy recommendations to the secretary of commerce, the governor and the General Assembly."

As a group, McCrory's appointees contributed more than $72,000 to his 2012 run for office. It is not unusual for governors to reward campaign backers with appointments to key policy-making bodies. 

John Lassiter, president of Carolina Legal Staff, will chair the board. He is a former Charlotte City Council member and adviser to McCrory. Campaign finance records showed he gave $2,000 during the 2012 campaign cycle. 

Jim Whitehurst will serve as vice chairman of the board. He is president and chief executive of Red Hat, a software developer that recently moved its headquarters to downtown Raleigh. Campaign finance records showed Whitehurst gave $4,000 to McCrory during the 2012 cycle.

Other notable names among McCrory's appointments include:

  • Terry Hutchens, a lawyer with Hutchens, Senter, Kellam & Pettit. Campaign finance records show his name attached to $12,415.32 in donations to McCrory in 2011 and 2012, although much of that was "in kind" contributions.
  • Fred Smith, a former state senator and candidate for governor who ran in the primary against McCrory in 2008. He is the founder of Fred Smith Co. and CEO of C.C. Mangum, a road building company. Campaign finance records show he gave $3,869.94 to McCrory.
  • Thomas Skains, president and CEO of Piedmont Natural Gas. Campaign finance records show Skains gave $8,000 to the McCrory campaign during the 2012 cycle.
  • Kelly King, CEO of BB&T and chairman of the Piedmont Triad Economic Development Partnership. Records show he gave the McCrory campaign $1,000.
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  • tayled Jul 17, 2013

    I see they were rewarded for their donations, wonder how that will affect the rest of us who can't afford to donate thousands of dollars to a political campaign.

    This has been the case for a very long time. Pay to Play is definitely alive and well and until that changes, we can expect the same. Those of us, and I suspect that is most of us, who cannot afford to contribute to a campaign, are usually left holding the bag. That's not how is should be, but it is reality.

  • beaupeep Jul 16, 2013

    Reading Is Fundamental

    "It is not unusual for governors to reward campaign backers with appointments to key policy-making bodies."

  • rowdya Jul 15, 2013

    They don't call him Pat "Pay to Play" McCrony for nothing. Two words: one term.

  • babbleon1 Jul 15, 2013

    Pay to play is alive and well.

    Don't confuse what these used idea salesmen *say* with what they *do*; the two have nothing in common.

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Jul 15, 2013

    "Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed a slate of 22 business executives, most of who are also campaign donors, to the North Carolina Economic Development Board".

    I know, I know. You're wondering: couldn't McCrory at least have made it, maybe, 21 campaign donors and 1 citizen without a direct connection to their system of "tax incentives" and kickbacks?

    :-) Maybe he could just go out and meet some random person on the sidewalk in front of the legislature building on a quiet Monday afternoon...

  • abortionismurderstupid Jul 15, 2013

    those guys probably also donated to the democrat candidate also, except maybe Fred Smith.

  • dwntwnboy2 Jul 15, 2013

    I see they were rewarded for their donations, wonder how that will affect the rest of us who can't afford to donate thousands of dollars to a political campaign.