Patrick "Duke" McCrory's Conflicts of Interest

Pat McCrory is still Mayor of Charlotte and only in January "quit" his simultaneous full time job with Duke Energy to run for Governor. Duke Energy PAC gave McCrory $4,000 the same month and $4,000 this July [7/23/08 according to FEC reports]. McCrory still will not disclose the full extent of his financial relationship with Duke Energy and related businesses.

McCrory once went to Washington, in 1997, to testify, as Mayor, against EPA clean air regulations for the Charlotte area that would have cost Duke Energy $600 million.

When asked about a possible conflict of interest arising from his appearance on Capitol Hill as Charlotte's mayor to testify about a matter that would directly affect his employer, Duke Power (where he serves as manager of business relations), McCrory replied, "No, in fact it's quite beneficial because I'm very knowledgeable on the subject. But the fact of the matter is that power plants are regulated by the state and federal government. City government doesn't have input into that process."

Again in 2007 McCrory spoke on Capitol Hill at a hearing of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. McCrory talked about climate change and advocated for "clean coal" and nuclear power, both beneficial to Duke Energy. He addressed the hearing as Mayor of Charlotte and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Environment Committee. He did not state that he was also an employee of Duke Energy even though his boss addressed the hearing the very next day.

Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality
Climate Change: State and Local Perspectives
Thursday, March 15, 2007, 11:00 a.m.
2123 Rayburn House Office Building

His prepared testimony was similar to but different from his verbal testimony: [Video stream] opens in Windows Media Player.

Timeline in video stream:
33.00 McCrory testimony begins
35.50 McCrory criticizes the left for being opposed to nuclear power and "clean coal"
37.20 McCrory describes nuclear plants close to Charlotte and how proud he is of nuclear energy
38.15 McCrory testimony ends

The very next day utility CEO's including Duke Energy's James Roger's addressed the same Subcommittee in a session called Climate Change: Perspectives of Utility CEOs. Rogers continued the nuclear and "clean coal" meme echoed by McCrory.

Yesterday the NC Democratic Party issued a press release with more examples of Pat McCrory's conflicts of interest with respect to Duke Energy and his role as Mayor:

McCrory Record Full of Conflicts of Interest

EXAMPLE: Failed to Recuse Himself From Conflict of Interest Vote in Condemnation Vote Directly Benefitting Duke Power

RALEIGH -- Despite claiming that he never participates on issues which he has a direct conflict of interest, Pat McCrory has a history of conflicts of interest – many because of his long-standing employment at Duke Power.

In one blatant example, McCrory chaired a City Council meeting and voted on a matter that directly involved his employer. McCrory voted to give the city authority to condemn private farmland so that the city could build an underground water pipe – all to enable the city to purchase electricity for the project from McCrory’s employer, Duke Power instead of from the competing power company that previously had exclusive authorization from the NC Utilities Commission.

McCrory’s conflict is documented in the case of City of Charlotte v. Cook. While the focus of that case was on legal points other than McCrory’s conflict of interest, court and city council records leave no doubt that McCrory, who chaired the meeting and voted, had an obvious conflict.

The issues before the Council clearly involved power companies competing for the water plant’s business and power transmission lines that would be located on the condemned land.

Pat McCrory has claimed that “if I saw that there was a direct conflict of interest I would ask to be removed from any discussion”:
“When there is legislation being discussed, I firmly believe that whether it be the governor or the state legislature stand up like we have to do during city council meetings and if there is an apparent - even apparent conflict of interest - stand up and state that possible apparent conflict of interest so the public knows the potential and it's not hidden. I've been doing this for 13 years as the Mayor of Charlotte, as an employee of a major corporation. Whenever issues were related to Duke Power or Duke Energy at the time or Crescent Land I would let it be known I am an employee of this company. And I wanted to let the public know that. As this item was being discussed and if I saw that there was a direct conflict of interest I would ask to be removed from any discussion.” [NC Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform forum, 9/16/08]

The 1994 condemnation of private farmland in Mecklenburg County directly benefited Duke Power by enabling the City of Charlotte to purchase power for the project from Duke rather than from Crescent Electric Membership Corporation:

“There was also evidence that if the plaintiff did not have a fee simple title to the property, it could not buy power from Duke Power Company but would have to purchase power from Crescent at a higher rate…Interestingly, and perhaps not insignificantly, the Cooks' property is located in territory which the North Carolina Utilities Commission has assigned exclusively to Crescent Electric Membership Corporation (Crescent). The City would have to buy power for the new plant from Crescent if the City acquired only an easement across the Cooks' property. However, if the City owned contiguous tracts of land on which the pipeline and plant were constructed, the City would have the right under N.C.G.S. § 62-110.2 to buy electric power from Duke Power Company (Duke Power).” [City of Charlotte v. Cook, 348 N.C. 222 (1998), dissenting opinion Justice Beverly Lake, Jr]

Supreme Court Justice Beverly Lake, Jr.: “These e-mail messages indicate that the mayor pro tempore of the City, an employee of Duke Power, as well as the project director had contact with Duke Power officials and discussed condemning a fee simple interest for the project”:

“The record evidences multiple Duke Power internal e-mail messages and memoranda reflecting that Duke Power and the City collaborated to have the City acquire a fee simple title to the property in order that Duke Power could provide the power to the plant. These e-mail messages indicate that the mayor pro tempore of the City, an employee of Duke Power, as well as the project director had contact with Duke Power officials and discussed condemning a fee simple interest for the project. The mayor pro tempore chaired the 12 September 1994 City Council meeting where the subject of condemning a fee simple was discussed, and he voted in favor of a fee simple condemnation.” [City of Charlotte v. Cook, 348 N.C. 222 (1998), dissenting opinion Justice Beverly Lake, Jr]

Supreme Court Justice Beverly Lake, Jr. on Mayor Pro Tem Pat McCrory: “There was some evidence that he knew Duke was involved”:

“The mayor was absent from the meeting at which the City Council voted to condemn the property, and the mayor pro tem presided over the meeting. The mayor pro tem voted to condemn a fee simple title. He filed an affidavit in which he said that if he had known Duke Power Company was involved in the matter, he would not have participated in the meeting. There was some evidence that he knew Duke was involved.” [City of Charlotte v. Cook, 348 N.C. 222 1998, dissenting opinion Justice Beverly Lake, Jr.]

Internal Duke Power emails discussed outreach to Pat McCrory, McCrory’s ability to influence others, and his conflict of interest:

“I will contact Pat McCrory to let him know what this is about. He may be able to influence others, but he will most likely have to not vote given the possible conflict of interest.” [Email from Duke Manager Wm. Larry Sheppard, 3/22/94]

“Bill, I spoke with both Ella and Pat regarding the CMUD effort to get the City to agree to request fee ownership of the right of way for the water intake line across County property. They both understood and were appreciative of the notice.” [Email from Duke Manager Wm. Larry Sheppard, 3/22/94]

Comments

This can't be true!

P-p-pat MCrory's an OUTSIDER! His stunning conflicts of interest weren't mentioned by the Wise Ones at the N&O ... therefore it can't be true. Or if it is true, the Wise Ones must have decided that a few little ol' conflicts of interest don't matter because he's full of "fresh ideas" and "energy."

Like I said: McCrory's a snake charmer.
_____________________________________

Doubts about Dole?

Scary

Thinking about a McCrory Administration is absolutely terrifying. As if it was not hard enough to move past Duke (and Progress). I can't imagine how hard it will be to move NC energy future away from coal based generation.