NC House Speaker Hires Prominent Defense Attorney Amid Corruption Investigations

RALEIGH – That’s according to reports from WBTV’s Nick Oschner, who is known for his investigative reporting on the powers that be in Raleigh. Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) has been followed by a cloud of corruption allegations for months, with the SBI investigating business deals and legislative actions that seem to present ethical conflicts, and federal investigators poking around Moore as well.

When a person is clearly innocent of alleged wrongdoing, their defense against possible charges should be cut and dry. If you did nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about. At best, the details surrounding Moore’s conflicts of interest are shady. At worst they could be criminal. Does the hiring of a big time criminal defense attorney indicate the latter?

“In an interview Monday night, Moore confirmed to WBTV that he had retained attorney Colon Willoughby, who spent nearly three decades as Wake County District Attorney.

Moore said he retained Willoughby to review questions that have emerged about work he has handled in his private law practice that may have related to legislation with which he is involved.”

That private work involved lucrative contracts with a pharmaceutical start-up, as well as legislative boons for some real estate developers that gave heavily to Moore’s campaign. This is in addition to a lot of other shady arrangements the House Speaker has in place to bring in some serious coin; he is the ‘part-time’ county attorney for his home Cleveland County for which he has billed the county nearly $100,000 a year for his legal work.

In the interview with Oschner, Moore was quick to imply there is ‘nothing to see here’ while suggesting that he is not a target of any investigations.

North Carolina is no stranger to having state political leadership enriching themselves via unethical and illegal arrangements. Former Democratic Speaker of the N.C. House actually went to prison for such things. The new Republican majority told us they were going to clean up that culture of corruption on Jones Street when they came into force in 2011. Over the last seven years, despite the policy achievements, it is unclear how the current insider club on Jones Street is meaningfully different from their Democratic predecessors.

Read more about the state and federal smoke around the Speaker here.

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