RALEIGH – Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) called Wednesday for a legislative probe into the slush fund Gov. Roy Cooper secured as a side deal to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. Lawmakers have repeatedly requested documents and answers to legitimate questions surrounding the deal, in which Cooper would essentially control a $58 million fund with out the funds ever going to the state treasury as required by the state constitution.
Instead of transparency before the legislature, Cooper instead sent one of his advisers to a single friendly media outlet to try and spin the story. Unfortunately for Cooper, the interview did more to raise concerns at the General Assembly.
“It is outrageous that the Cooper administration was selectively providing public records related to the governor’s pipeline scandal to a single news outlet while refusing to provide the same records to the legislature,” said Rabon. “The WRAL report proves that Roy Cooper had his hand in the cookie jar and intentionally steered money out of the state treasury and into a personal ‘slush fund’ he could dole out at his whim.
This story raised more questions than it answers, and given the Cooper administration has spent weeks dodging simple questions and refusing to comply with the Public Records Act, I am asking Sen. Berger and Speaker Moore to include Gov. Cooper’s pipeline scandal as an agenda item at the next meeting of the Joint Legislative Commission on Government Affairs.”
The next meeting of the relevant commission is scheduled for the end of March. If the Cooper administration continues to refuse compliance with records requests, Rabon notes that the General Assembly has the power to compel testimony and issue subpoenas to obtain those records.
March Madness may have a double meaning in the Old North State this year. Cooper’s hubris in concocting a plan to work around the General Assembly, and thus the constitution, to raise and distribute a huge slush fund that would undoubtedly become self-serving has blown up in his face.