House GOP accidentally leaks strategy

Posted June 3, 2011
Updated June 4, 2011

House Republicans inadvertently left the microphones on during their pre-budget caucus meeting this afternoon.

These are closed meetings where members freely discuss strategy. But this one got piped into every audio outlet in the Legislative Complex.


On today’s budget debate:

The leaders will speak, but no one is supposed to talk about redistricting except for David Lewis, R-Harnett, “Because it’s extremely sensitive to the other people not in this room who are voting with us,” said Majority Leader Skip Stam, and “David can obfuscate more than anybody I know.”

The “sensitive issue” appears to be a provision tucked into Part 22 of the budget – probably 22.4 - that would allow legislators, but not the Democratic Attorney General, to have client/attorney privilege with outside counsel they may hire for redistricting.

Stam explained that for redistricting, “The plan all along has been to submit this to the courts, rather than the Department of Justice, since this will be the first redistricting plan under the Voting Rights Act submitted to a DOJ controlled by Democrats, let alone Obama.”

(The DC Circuit Court, which is where the redistricting plan would go, is considered quite conservative.)

“Y’all need to be raising money for our outside counsel for after session adjourns,” Stam joked.

Exactly how that’s sensitive to the five Democrats voting for the budget isn’t quite clear, but it's fair to say that if they vote for it, they may  be helping to disadvantage their own party in 2012. 

On debate strategy:

Rep. Brubaker said if Democrats have penetrating questions, the response should be to say they don’t know and will have staff come over to help them, “That way, it’s not on the floor. Shut ‘em down,” Brubaker explained.

Otherwise, Tillis said the House GOP should avoid attacking "Democrats," joking that he would fine offending members $5 each.

“Please do not go after Democrats.  Five of them are voting with us,” he said. But if Republicans want to go after a specific D member, Tillis said, “Gut-punch ‘em, hit ‘em in the jaw, doesn’t matter to me.”

Tillis also advised caution in attacking Perdue during the debate. “Understand that these five Democrats are going after her. Understand Bill Owens is a very close personal friend of hers.”


Tillis also commented on a bill that would disallow payroll deduction of NCAE dues. It passed Rules today. “The reason we’re doing it is because the NCAE has gone into all five districts with mailers hammering these Democrats. It’s just a little taste of what’s to come.”

On the governor’s executive order restoring unemployment benefits:

There was some discussion was over whether Perdue didn’t know she could fix it with an EO, or whether she did.

“Either way, she’s incompetent,” Stam said. “She knows it’s going to become law and she wants to get the credit. We really need to crack on her for this.”


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  • dlphnwmn8 Jun 6, 2011

    Republican Senate Leader Phil Berger said he's having nonpartisan staff look into whether Perdue has the authority to make the change."We hope that, in a desperate effort to claim credit for what’s going to occur because of the bipartisan budget, she is not putting the benefits of tens of thousands of unemployed North Carolinians at risk by using a questionable legal gimmick," Berger said in a statement. "If she really thinks this is appropriate, she shamefully did nothing for seven weeks."
    Really Berger? She shamefully did nothing? You and the rest of your frat boys shamefully DID do something when you refused time and time again to pass HB 676 and devasted countless individuals and families. So you can forget obfuscating this. And even now you want to throw us under the bus by “looking into this.” 2012 elections are not far off and the hole you are digging for the Reps gets deeper and deeper each day. Don’t think for one minute any of us will forget this.

  • faperrigo Jun 4, 2011

    What is the stink about? I am not sure the audio went "everywhere" in the legislature buildings. At any rate, I listened as Nesbitt- in his presser on Thursday, Michaux- in Friday's floor debate, and Barber- in his post arrest presser, do a great job of obfuscation. Come back off the cliff folk. Step back, take a deep breath. You can't tax and spend yourself out of debt. One other thought- I would be for a 1% sales tax hike IF it was kept in the county and the state gas tax was dropped by 8%

  • dlphnwmn8 Jun 4, 2011

    obfuscate: ob·fus·cate [ óbfə skàyt ]
    make something obscure: to make something obscure or unclear, especially by making it unnecessarily complicated
    confuse: to make somebody confused
    Well there ya go. Once again proof positive that the republicans will do anything to gain their goals. And that they will dance to their puppet masters strings.

  • songsmithdan Jun 3, 2011

    "redistricting"? Now that's only fair if the democrats do it. Republicans are not allowed.

  • songsmithdan Jun 3, 2011

    It must be a republican contagion. They been "leaking" intestinal fortitude since Reagan died. If I think the governor is incompetent and inadvertently say it, why should I apologize if I believe it's true?

    She just extended unemployment benefits again. To top it off, she verbally verified that she believes in the Pelosi principle of "welfare trickle down". So government handouts trickle down into the economy, but profit that trickles down from tax cuts is a gross error? Can she get more incompetent?

  • catgirl Jun 3, 2011

    It was NOT broadcast throughtout the building. Someone from Information Services came into the meeting and set up the mics so the audio wouldn't feed like it does during regular committee meetings. The only place audio fed to was the PRESS ROOM. Instead of having to listen like we mere mortals thru the internet feed, THEY have a direct feed to the capital press room.

  • NeverAgain Jun 3, 2011

    It is shameful what these Republicans are trying to do to the state of NC. We will REMEMBER in NOVEMBER 2012. This, you can count on.

  • crouch1010 Jun 3, 2011

    The leaders will speak, but no one is supposed to talk about redistricting except for David Lewis, R-Harnett, “Because it’s extremely sensitive to the other people not in this room who are voting with us,” said Majority Leader Skip Stam, and “David can obfuscate more than anybody I know.”

    Republicans are not good at obfuscating anymore. People see the economy after the federal tax cuts.

  • rroadrunner99 Jun 3, 2011

    I would think that Republican's will remember this day come the next election. When they have to pack up and go back home and leave their Jones Street hideaway, they will remember what they have done to all of North Carolina's citizen's. Stam won't be forgotten in November I'd say. And he will probably affect a lot of his party members as well. We'll see who's incompetent then.

  • only 4 me 2 c Jun 3, 2011

    Spoken like a true politician: "On one point, I only want David Lewis to talk," Stam said, an Apex Republican. "The talk about redistricting and this thing in the budget is extremely sensitive to the other people not in this room who are voting with us. No one but David talk. David can obfuscate more than anybody I know."