That’s the question on the minds of many NCGOP activists, specifically those along the North Carolina coast, as they head to Wilmington for the 2017 NCGOP State Convention.
You see, NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes has long been a central figure in a long-simmering feud between the commercial fisherman along our state’s coast and the Coast Conservation Association (CCA).
While that years-long battle isn’t the specific point of this post, it does establish the background information needed to understanding and answering the big question of this weekend’s convention – Is NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes colluding with a registered sex offender? And if so, why?
We’re ultimately going to leave that answer up to you, the people of North Carolina. But in order for you to have the facts you need to answer that question, we’re going to need to provide you with a little background.
A Brief History of The Battle for Commercial Fishing
For years now, our state’s commercial fisherman, many of whose families have been fishing off our state’s coast to provide for their families for generations, have been in a literal fight for their right to exist and make a living as special interests and environmental extremists began pushing an agenda that would ultimately spell the end of commercial fishing in North Carolina and beyond.
The central battle has been between the commercial fisherman and the Coast Conservation Association (CCA), a group who’s main objective, according to their website, is to “conserve, promote, and enhance the present and future availability of those coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public.”
Wealthy, well-connected recreational fishermen partnered with the CCA seemingly for the purpose of prioritizing their weekend fishing trips over the well-being and livelihood of commercial fishermen.
In conjunction with Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF), the CCA went about their mission to push extreme environmental regulations that severely impacted the ability of the commercial fishing industry to continue to prosper.
These groups were able to stack the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) with commissioners who favored their radical environmental agenda last November, right before the 2016 election. This left the environmentalists with 5 seats on the commission, as opposed to just 3 seats for the commercial fishermen with one scientists rounding out the MFC.
But how did the CCA and others manage to stack the MFC considering the fact that the Governor of North Carolina has full control over these appointments, and the Governor at that time was a Republican like Pat McCrory?
Well, it just so happens that current NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes is a “senior adviser” to the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF), one of the groups we mentioned above that has been pushing the extreme environmental regulations that threaten the commercial fishing industry.
Did Robin Hayes use his role as NCGOP Chairman to influence Governor McCrory’s decision making process in order to satisfy the environmental group that pays him as a “senior advisor”?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Dare County GOP vs. Robin Hayes
The next aspect of this saga centers around the Dare County GOP, one of our state’s conservative hotbeds who obviously have a desire to see their local economy flourish, and their efforts to get Robin Hayes to answer the question of whether or not he was being paid by an environmental group to use the influence he had as NCGOP Chairman to sway Governor McCrory’s decision making.
These questions led the Dare GOP to begin pushing Hayes for answers.
Back in March, at the Dare GOP’s annual convention, a resolution – which can be read HERE and HERE – was passed unanimously to demand that Robin Hayes either appear before the Dare GOP executive committee to answer questions about his role with the environmental group, or suspended his campaign to be reelected as NCGOP Chairman.
It’s rather obvious why the Dare GOP took such measures, considering the fact that as NCGOP Chairman, Robin Hayes was apparently profiting off of and actively trying to harm a key GOP constituency along our state’s coast.
With the resolution passed, Dare County GOP Chairman Browny Douglas sent a notice to Robin Hayes for him to appear before the the Dare GOP executive committee within 45 days of receiving the notice.
Subsequently, Hayes responded to the Dare GOP’s notice with a phone call to Douglas in which he acknowledged receiving the notice, according to multiple sources close to the situation who spoke to First in Freedom Daily on the condition of anonymity.
Those sources indicated that during the phone call with Douglas, Robin Hayes attempted to transition the meeting with the Dare County GOP executive committee to another location.
Apparently, Hayes was planning to appear at a meeting of the AL-PAM Republican Club, an unofficial organization that purports to represent Republicans across North Eastern North Carolina, that was scheduled for April 6, 2017 in Columbia, about 30 minutes from Dare County. (Just 15 minutes if Robin Hayes used his private plane which the NCGOP appears to be paying the gasoline bill for.)
The Dare GOP declined to move the meeting, citing the fact that it was inappropriate for the NCGOP Chairman to request the executive committee move their business outside the county.
So, What’s the Big Deal?
According to our sources, prior to Robin Hayes’ call in which he attempted to convince the Dare GOP executive committee to move their business outside of Dare County, two longtime establishment political operatives were also pushing the executive committee to move their meeting outside of Dare County in what appeared to be a coordinated effort.
Those operatives were AL-PAM President Harvey West, and his wife, then 3rd Congressional NCGOP Chair Kim Cotton West, daughter of Joyce Cotton, then 2nd Congressional NCGOP Chair.
And with those two coming into the picture and apparently lobbying on Hayes’ behalf, this is where we get to the real question at hand – is NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes colluding with a Registered Sex Offender?
According to a Salisbury Post article from 2012, Harvey West pleaded guilty to 5 counts of taking indecent liberties with children in 2000. WITN also reported in 2012 that West spent 7 years in prison before being released in 2006 and was required to register as a sex offender.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety lists West’s current registration status as “registered” with his last address verified on January 3, 2017. The NCDPS site also lists 16 indecent liberties offenses under West’s “conviction information” with their dates ranging from June 1, 1999 to August 1, 1999.
In the Salisbury Post article from 2012, they reported that in an interview West claimed to be innocent of all charges, but pleaded guilty at age 28 in order to avoid decades in jail.
With it appearing as though Harvey West is still a registered sex offender, one has to wonder what Robin Hayes is doing working with him in attempting to steer the Dare County GOP executive committee to move their business to a meeting of an unofficial club West is the president of.
Sure, you may be wondering right now, “Well, maybe Robin Hayes just didn’t know one of the people he had doing his bidding was an apparent registered sex offender…”
That’s a rational response to have. But, unfortunately for Robin Hayes, he’s apparently known about this for years.
Harvey West was elected by the 3rd Congressional NCGOP as an alternate delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Upon the News & Observer reporting of West’s status as a registered sex offender, he sent an email to then NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes resigning as an alternate delegate because of what he claimed were “attempts by political opponents to use him as a weapon,” according to WITN.
This brings us to the crux of the issue.
If NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes knew that establishment political operative Harvey West was a registered sex offender, as the evidence appears to indicate from news reports at the time, why is Hayes colluding with West to intervene in matters of the Dare County GOP executive committee?
There are many questions here that Robin Hayes must answer before the NCGOP delegates vote on whether he should serve another term as the party’s Chairman.