Excerpt From: WRAL. Written By: Mark Binker.
At least four of Gov. Roy Cooper’s cabinet nominees have been cautioned about potential – but not “actual” – conflicts of interest they should steer clear of while serving as the heads of state agencies.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Anthony Copeland, Susi Hamilton and Michael Regan, who have been tapped to head the departments of Health and Human Services, Commerce, Natural and Cultural Resources and Environmental Quality, respectively, all received letters from North Carolina’s State Ethics Commission saying reviewers found the “potential for a conflict of interest” due either to properties they own or certain business relationships.
However, those same letters emphasize that regulators found nothing that would disqualify those cabinet members from serving. Such evaluations are commonplace for state officials, but these evaluations are grist for an ongoing dispute between Cooper and lawmakers over a new law that subjects cabinet nominees to Senate approval.
“Governor Cooper has appointed a diverse cabinet with deep experience in their respective fields,” Cooper spokesman Ford Porter said. “These leaders have publicly reported their economic interests in accordance with state law, and Governor Cooper is confident that they will serve North Carolina with distinction.”
Senators say the items highlighted by the Ethics Commission are the kind of potential problems they would like to ask about during planned confirmation hearings, which Cooper has sued to halt.