@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

McCrory appoints new elections board

Posted April 26, 2013

— Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed a new five-member State Board of Elections, who will inherit a nascent investigation into possibly illegal campaign donations to the governor and other top state leaders. 

The Governor's Office announced the appointments late Friday afternoon. Kim Genardo, McCrory's communications director, said that the appointees were officially informed of their appointments earlier in the afternoon. 

The last meeting of the current State Board of Elections is scheduled for Tuesday, the group's last day in office.

It is likely that the old board will vote to carry forward a campaign finance investigation regarding donations to more than 60 campaigns by indicted sweepstakes software provider Chase Burns of Oklahoma. That investigation would be in response to a complaint sworn out by Democracy North Carolina, the same group that filed a campaign finance complaint that led to the conviction of former House Speaker Jim Black. 

The Associated Press recently reported that most of the $235,000 in checks from Burns were delivered to candidates by Moore & Van Allen, a Charlotte law and lobbying firm where McCrory worked until just days before he was sworn into office in January. Donations from Brooks also went to top legislative leaders, including House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

Genardo said that McCrory had "no concern at all" about the investigation and that the state board was an independent panel once it was seated. 

Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said the appointments didn't raise any immediate red flags.

"It would have been better if he (McCrory) had kept one of the Republicans," Hall said, singling out Chuck Winfree, a long-serving Greensboro Republican who has sometimes clashed with the Democratic majority but is respected by both sides. "He knows the law and was very independent." 

The governor makes appointments upon the nomination of Democratic and Republican party chairmen. Generally, the governor takes the top choices offered by those organizations. A spokesman for the North Carolina Democratic Party said that McCrory appointed the Democrats' top two choices.

Winfree was not immediately available to comment. A phone call to a Republican Party spokesman wasn't immediately returned Friday night. 

Hall said that the new board would raise a concern only if they glossed over the questions raised by the Brooks donations. 

"If they try to clamp down on this investigation, that would set off alarms," Hall said.

If legislation mandating that all voters show photo identification at the polls passes, as is expected, the new board will also be responsible for managing the implementation of that requirement. 

Appointments made

Under state law, the chairmen of the state Republican and Democratic parties submit five names each to the governor. The governor may appoint three from one party and two from the other. By tradition and practice, but not law, the majority comes from the sitting governor's party. Once they have met and organize themselves, the board will appoint an executive director to a four-year term.

Genardo said she did not know if McCrory had expressed a preference for who might be chairman of the new board or serve as executive director.

According to a news release, the three Republican appointees are: 

  • Josh Howard of Wake County: Howard is a founding member of the law firm Gammon, Howard & Zeszotarski. Howard has served as counsel and chief ethics officer for RTI International, as well as deputy criminal chief for economic crime for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
  • Paul J. Foley of Forsyth County: Foley is currently an associate for the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton. He has served as an associate for several other firms.
  • Rhonda K. Amoroso of New Hanover County: Amoroso recently served as chairwoman of the New Hanover County Republican Party. She has also served as vice chairwoman of the executive committee in charge of election operations. Amoroso was an associate at several New York law firms before being appointed to the New York State Freshwater Wetlands Appeals Board.

The Democratic appointees are:

  • Joshua D. Malcolm  of Robeson County: Malcolm is the current chair of the Robeson County Board of Elections. Malcolm has served on the board for the past six years. He also served as the general counsel for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Prior to his time at UNC-Pembroke, Malcolm served as assistant general counsel at Fayetteville State University.
  • Maja Kricker of Chatham County: Kricker serves as chairwoman of the Chatham County Board of Elections. She has served on the board for six years. Kricker is also the owner of GeneLights Productions, a molecular media company, and previously worked as a computational biologist for Paradigm Genetics.

It is unsurprising that Larry Leake of Asheville, the current board chairman, was not reappointed. Legislative leaders had targeted him in a bill that remakes state boards and commissions by making him ineligible to continue serving even as an ordinary member. That bill is hung up in disagreements between the state House and Senate, but lawmakers clearly intend to force him off the board.

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  • Mon Account Apr 29, 2013

    This is incredibly outrageous but also not surprising. People thought the dem's were bad? Corruption at it's finest.
    They pick who you can marry,
    They pick who can vote,
    They assume welfare = drug addicts,
    And now when they're under pressure they set up a new elections board to make sure they look clean as a whistle.

    Wow.

  • Krimson King Apr 29, 2013

    Crumps: "Meh, it wont hurt as bad as some of the garbage Barry has done so far, but you're all too busy wallowing in your partisanship and freebies to care"

    Really, who's wallowing here - the people concerned about corruption at the Gov's Office, or the people defending the Gov's questionable actions???

  • Grand Union Apr 29, 2013

    "Meh, it wont hurt as bad as some of the garbage Barry has done so far,"

    like what?

    " but you're all too busy wallowing in your partisanship and freebies to care"

    Oh I do so love irony.

  • ykm Apr 29, 2013

    Appointing a new elections commission when an investigation OF THE GOVERNOR HIMSELF is pending?? It's pending and all governors are going to be investigated. This last bunch didn't do a very good job or democrats would be labeled the crooks they are.

    Creating a STATE RELIGION? K give ya that one it's goofy but hey vote the guy out problem with goofy solved.

    Taxing parents if kids vote at college? If a kid make his/her college their residence mom and dad can't say the kid lives at home on taxes right. Go home and vote or get an absentee ballot from home.

    Kids can't register to vote if their car is registered at HOME??Once again voting rights mandate you create a residence, can't have two, that would allow a person to vote twice.

    Allowing SILENCERS FOR HUNTING?? So we can hunt on sundays and not bother folks.

  • Crumps Br0ther Apr 29, 2013

    liberal butthurt"

    This hurts all of us, including you Crumps...
    watts1000

    Meh, it wont hurt as bad as some of the garbage Barry has done so far, but you're all too busy wallowing in your partisanship and freebies to care

  • Crumps Br0ther Apr 29, 2013

    Where you too can spend $13 million to buy your next job...
    teleman60

    Well if Bev would have been worth a spit she would still be there. But she was worthless and her party knew it and threw her under the bus.

  • teleman60 Apr 29, 2013

    Appointing a new elections commission when an investigation OF THE GOVERNOR HIMSELF is pending??

    Creating a STATE RELIGION?

    Taxing parents if kids vote at college?

    Kids can't register to vote if their car is registered at HOME??

    Allowing SILENCERS FOR HUNTING??

    NC government has become a Saturday Night Live SKIT!!

    Welcome to republican world:

    Where you too can spend $13 million to buy your next job...

  • Krimson King Apr 29, 2013

    HPR641: "What exactly has McCrory done on these appts. that is so egregious?"

    Its not the whom, its the when... The old BOE just filed a complaint about the Gov and his admin. taking illegal campaign money:

    from the article above) "...the old board will vote to carry forward a campaign finance investigation regarding donations to more than 60 campaigns by indicted sweepstakes software provider Chase Burns of Oklahoma. That investigation would be in response to a complaint sworn out by Democracy North Carolina, the same group that filed a campaign finance complaint that led to the conviction of former House Speaker Jim Black."

    Did you even read the article???

  • hpr641 Apr 29, 2013

    What exactly has McCrory done on these appts. that is so egregious? He's given 5 names by the Reps. and 5 names by the Dems., and has to pick 2 from each group, plus any 1 of the remaining 6. He, as anyone should have expected, picked 3 of the 5 Reps., and 2 of the 5 Dems. That was "bad" because ... ??? Or, do you all not realize that he is REQUIRED to make his selections?

  • Grand Union Apr 29, 2013

    "What if Bev Perdue did this."

    The point is....she didn't.......not even Easley had that much brass neck.

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