Charlotte Observer Editorial Board Blasts Governor Cooper for ‘Eyebrow-Raising’ Interference in Pipeline Investigation

CHARLOTTE – You know Governor Roy Cooper has long since crossed the line by the time the usually Democrat-boosting, metro-paper editorial boards start calling him out. That time has definitely arrived when it comes to Cooper’s clamming up the legislature’s investigation into the Atlantic Coast Pipeline deal that resulted in a $58 million slush fund to be controlled directly by the governor.

The editorial board of the Charlotte Observer is alarmed by Cooper’s eyebrow-raising behavior when it comes to interfering with bipartisan lawmakers’ efforts to get to the bottom of this long festering scandal with significant implications.

“North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and at least one N.C. Democrat are engaging in some eyebrow-raising behavior regarding an investigation into Cooper’s handling of Atlantic Coast Pipeline permits. It’s a bad look for the governor, and voters should be troubled whenever a public official attempts to undermine legitimate questioning. […]”

The “one Democrat” is N.C. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson (D-Wake), who appears to be doing Cooper’s dirty work, again, according to the reliably Left-leaning editorial board.

“[…] Earlier this month, Cooper’s office filed a startling public records request for investigation records — including transcripts and recordings of interviews conducted in the probe, according to N.C. Insider. If that request is granted, the subject of an investigation could get to see the product of that investigation before he or his staff testify. That’s disturbing.

This week, Democratic Rep. Darren Jackson targeted both the hearing and the legitimacy of the subcommittee created to investigate the pipeline controversy. In a letter Wednesday to Republican Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, Jackson said private investigators are not allowed by statute to directly ask questions of witnesses in hearings. More importantly, and just days before the hearing, he argued that the General Assembly didn’t give authority to Berger and Moore to create the subcommittee, and that it should be disbanded. […]”

So Cooper refuses to allow staff to cooperate in private interviews with investigators, demanding a public hearing to expose Republicans’ partisan show; then have a loyal soldier erroneously claim the pubic hearing interviews can’t happen either and move to disband the committee? That’s a lot of squirming to avoid a ‘Nothin’ to see here’ scandal.

So much squirming that even fellow Democrats are forced to call it out. The authors close with a truth oft overlooked:

“[…] there are legitimate questions surrounding the governor, the pipeline permitting and the $57.8 million fund. The fact that the queries might be politically beneficial to Republicans is irrelevant to whether they should be asked. It’s time for the governor’s office to answer those questions, not undermine them. […]”

Governor Cooper and his staff repeatedly deflect questions about this scandal as mere partisan antics from Republicans trying to score points. Political parties have a tendency to do such, yes, but Cooper is scrambling back on defense as if he’s left the basket so wide open that he stands to lose the game. He shouldn’t be allowed to simply run the clock out until November 2020.

Read the whole op-ed here.

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