RALEIGH – A plan for a huge natural gas pipeline traversing the state hinging on state approval, a permit from executive agencies. Said permit curiously gets approved once Governor Roy Cooper and his adviser Ken Eudy essentially secured a $58 million slush fund in back channel talks from the energy companies waiting on approval to deploy to the governor’s favor. The legislature, the constitutional holder of the State purse, wasn’t even informed of the fund plans.
Yet, for a while now the Democrats and their friends in the media have been largely successful at keeping the Atlantic Coast Pipeline scandal from sinking Governor Roy Cooper’s political ship. The documented timelines and communications are enough that even usual Cooper allies, the environmentalists, accused him of corruption in holding the permit for ransom and then selling out to fossil fuels. Legislative investigations were launched, but stifled in part by Cooper telling administration officials to refuse testimony. Stifled further by the Left-leaning media’s notable lack of interest in pursuing juicy and supported corruption allegations when it is a Democrat on the hot seat.
Despite an uncooperative Cooper, the investigation is still ongoing and committee leaders say they are nearly finished with witness interviews. The remaining interviews? Cooper himself and key staff involved in the pipeline scandal. The committee is employing investigators looking into the slush fund deal and how it came about, and they’ve asked to speak to Cooper and staff to complete the investigation. Cooper, however, is all clammed up, refusing to even speak to them.
Cooper and staff members rejected interview requests via a letter from Cooper’s chief of staff Kristi Jones. The alternative to speaking to sitting for investigator interviews is reportedly a public hearing to be held in November. Yet Jones already labeled such a public hearing a ‘partisan charade,’ and Cooper has directed staff to refuse testimony before.
It’s hard not to wonder exactly how white hot this scandal would be if this were a Republican governor being accused of abusing state authority to raise tens of millions in slush fund money through a backroom deal with fossil fuel companies and now refusing to talk. Indeed, if roles were reversed, Democrats on Jones Street would be doing their best Pelosi impression and drawing up North Carolina’s Articles of Impeachment.
Alas, Republicans will have to push that much harder to get to the bottom of Cooper’s pipeline corruption scandal and then hope the media actually report those facts instead of covering Cooper’s tracks.