Background: The North Carolina General Assembly voted in 2015 to authorize the NC House and Senate political conferences to move their funds out from under the management of the NCGOP. The state senate moved its funds in 2016, during the tenure of Hasan Harnett. On May 23, 2017, the NC House of Representatives GOP Caucus also voted to move its funds from management by the NCGOP to an independent account, not under management of or reporting by the NCGOP.
The Allegation: Some pundits assert the upcoming election of a new NCGOP Party Chair had a major role in the House GOP members electing to move their funds away from managerial oversight by the NCGOP finance team. Some media sources seem to think the imminent demise of Chairman Hayes was the cause for moving the money. Another source speculated the move was necessary to keep Hayes from robbing the kitty before the funds were turned over to his successor for management. Another source stated the probable election of Jim Womack as the new state GOP Chairman on June 3, 2017 had nothing to do with the vote today; that instead the purpose was to de-couple the House caucus account from the NCGOP operational accounts to enhance collections from a broader range of contributors.
The Truth: Barring a statement from the Speaker of the House or testimony from GOP Caucus insiders, the truth is elusive. We’re not altogether sure any two people in the caucus would agree entirely about why they voted this way, and why they did it two weeks before convention.
Conclusion: There was no accompanying rationale provided for the GOP Caucus moving its money. Frankly, it is the prerogative of the General Assembly caucus’ to manage their money in manner that best suits their needs. Jim Womack respects the legislative authority of the NCGA to co-mingle funds with the respective parties or to manage them independently. The Senate moved its funds in a previous legislative session, and the House found it expedient to do so this year- prior to the election of a new NCGOP Chairman. It doesn’t appear the GOP Caucus in the House was particularly worried about whether the party was about to change leaders. Womack has expressed his support for the House managing its caucus money in whatever manner it prefers. Womack has repeatedly stated his support for the General Assembly under current management. This move by the GOP Caucus does not alter his support in the least. North Carolina has perhaps the finest legislature in the country. That same General Assembly is chiefly responsible for enabling the amazing turnaround of this state’s economic fortunes since 2009. Moving GOP caucus money to an independent account is a trivial matter in comparison to the superb legislative record of this body.