RALEIGH – New texts show that Joshua Malcolm, the Democrat that chaired the State Board of Elections and handpicked by Gov. Roy Cooper, is conflicted when it comes to the 9th Congressional District election fraud investigation.
Though the Board is currently dissolved due to a gap between court rulings and the effective date of remedial legislation, Malcolm is expected to be re-appointed to that position on at the end of this month by Cooper. If an honest investigation built on integrity and transparency is the goal of a new elections oversight body, Malcolm should not any part of that body, and serve as a witness instead.
Nick Oschner of WBTV recently broke a story that revealed text and phone call communications between Malcolm, an attorney from Robeson County, and Jens Lutz, a Bladen County Democrat at the center of fraud and negligence allegations, in the weeks and days before the election. Lutz suddenly resigned when the fraud news began to break, which appeared sketchy on its own. Yet, the texts between he and Malcolm confirmed that transparency and objectivity were hardly the motivations behind Malcolm’s motion to not certify the NC-09 election.
New texts released by the Board show how displeased Malcolm is that their secret communications were outed:
In text messages released by NCSBE, former Chair Joshua Malcolm called our reporting on his communication w/ former Bladen BOE Vice Chair Jens Lutz ‘desperate’. Malcolm still won’t answer our questions. Original story >> https://t.co/iNMeEDrtWa #ncpol #nc09 pic.twitter.com/FMfK4KC6R8
— Nick Ochsner (@NickOchsnerWBTV) January 10, 2019
‘Desperate’? Oschner is certainly not desperate for stories. Quite the opposite considering the ample material provided by the 9th District saga. Instead, Oschner, an investigative journalist that holds political figures on both sides of the aisle to account, went above and beyond to provide the public with relevant information regarding the conflicted nature of State Board of Elections members at a time the body doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
Malcolm, however, may be the one desperate for reporters’ attention to turn elsewhere. He openly claimed to have been aware of ‘unfortunate activities’ surrounding elections in the region he calls home, and would no longer turn a blind eye to it, before moving to not certify the congressional race in question. This raised questions about what he knew, and for how long, with out doing anything about it?
The texts and phone calls, only secured after the threat of legal options by reporters, confirm that Malcolm himself is woefully conflicted, and his lack of transparency reason enough to prevent his extended tenure on the Board. However, it would not be surprising at all for Cooper to respond to such reason, as he has demonstrated time and again that partisan politics is more important to him than honest governance.
We will know the answer for sure when Cooper names a new Board on January 31.
Read the background story from WBTV here.