Raleigh, N.C. — During a news conference Monday afternoon, reporters asked Gov. Pat McCrory how much he was leaning on his budget director, Art Pope, to communicate his thoughts and wishes to the General Assembly.
"He takes my direction," McCrory said of Pope Monday.
Pope may be the most controversial figure in McCrory's cabinet. A former lawmaker, Pope is best known as a major donor to conservative groups. Some helped Republicans get elected to the legislature, and others have helped provide ideological fodder for the GOP. As such, Pope has become a frequent target for liberal writers, who try to paint him as the power behind McCrory's throne.
"He is a great resource for me and for this administration," McCrory said. "Let me put it this way, he is extremely capable of reviewing the details of a budget, which is especially needed when you're discussing the budget itself and tax reform. For him to work for a $1 a year ... he should be commended for his service."
McCrory said Pope was part of a team of administration officials helping to negotiate the budget.
"My whole team has been involved," McCrory said.