Raleigh, N.C. — A spokeswoman for Gov. Pat McCrory says his appointment of a campaign fundraiser to the state Board of Transportation does not conflict with an appeal McCrory made in 2008 for higher ethical standards in state government.
Mike Smith, a Raleigh businessman, helped raise more than $106,000 for McCrory's 2012 campaign, although he wasn't a donor himself.
Reporters for The News & Observer first noted that appointment appeared to conflict with a statement McCrory made during a 2008 debate with then-Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue.
McCrory was ticking off a list of recommendations, including that "we eliminate fundraising, any fundraising for those currently on Department of Transportation boards, university boards and the ABC boards. Those seem to be where the most abuse is at this point in time. We should not give the appearance that someone gets an appointment because they've raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for a particular candidate."
McCrory went on to say if the state didn't prohibit such appointments outright, the fundraising out to at least be disclosed.
"At least make it more transparent so you know who has raised the money for candidates and then when that person is selected for board you knew what their role was in your campaign," McCrory said.
Smith's role as a fundraiser was by a disclosure form McCrory's office disclosed to the press and lawmakers.
“The spirit of the governor’s comments five years ago were to condemn unethical behavior on the State Board of Transportation, not to impede people’s rights to participate in the democratic process," spokeswoman Kim Genardo said. "For instance, Sharon Decker, Gov. McCrory’s choice for commerce secretary, even donated to former Democratic state Sen. Walter Dalton’s campaign. Gov. McCrory stands behind his appointments to the DOT board, and his team will meet the highest ethical standards, the same standards he upheld as mayor of Charlotte for 14 years.”