Pay To Play: Cooper Hires Oil Lobbyist Whose Clients Included Slush Fund Benefactor

RALEIGH – The revolving door between Governor Roy Cooper’s office and the pay-to-play lobbying world is still spinning. Cooper, who is now catching heat from the Right AND the Left over a $58 million slush fund granted to the governor’s office as part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) deal, has hired a lobbyist for those ACP backers as his legislative director.

“The Governor’s Office announced Wednesday afternoon that Lee Lilley, formerly of McGuireWoods Consulting in Washington, D.C., would join the administration as director of legislative affairs. Lilley was one of several McGuireWoods employees registered to lobby Congress on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute and Dominion Resources, among others.

Dominion, along with Duke Energy and other utilities, owns the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which will carry natural gas through eight North Carolina counties along the Interstate 95 corridor as it winds its way from West Virginia to southeastern North Carolina.


In a press release announcing Lilley’s hiring, the Governor’s Office notes his former role at McGuireWoods but does not mention his ties to the oil and gas industry. It says instead that Lilley was a former legislative director for Democratic 1st District Congressman G.K. Butterfield.”

So let’s get this straight – Cooper bucks the environmental Left in approving permits for the ACP; then it is revealed that ACP backers are making a ‘voluntary contribution’ of nearly $58 million to be controlled by the governor; then one of the lobbyists working that slush fund deal is brought on to Cooper’s payroll.

This smells the high heaven of corruption and cronyism.

To make matters worse, the new hire used to stump for ultra-liberal former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus G.K. Butterfield.

Recently, even the Left is raising their eyebrows at Cooper’s sketchy actions…and they just keep coming.

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