#ncga: Speaker, Insurance commissioner ensnared in lobbying scandal?

download (1)Two of the biggest headaches for the Raleigh establishment — former legislator Robert Brawley and current TV investigative newshound Nick Ochsner — are working their magic once again in our state’s halls of power:

A Raleigh attorney with deep ties to House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin attempted to influence lawmakers and advertised himself as a lobbyist during the 2016 short session despite not being registered as a lobbyist with the Secretary of State’s office.

The attorney, Mark Bibbs, now faces a complaint filed against him with the Secretary of State’s Lobbying Compliance Division, accusing him of violating state law.

The complaint was filed by former State Representative Robert Brawley. Brawley is SPEAKERMOOREPORTRAITan investor and corporate secretary of Cannon Surety, the company on whose behalf Bibbs advocated during the 2016 short session.[…]

Now, before Speaker Moore rings his very expensive Wall Street lawyer, what do Messrs. Ochsner and Brawley base all of this on?  Let’s take a look:

[…] On Your Side Investigates obtained emails from Bibbs in which he emailed members of the North Carolina General Assembly voicing opposition to a bill that implemented new regulations on bail agents.

Other records, obtained through a public records request, show Bibbs tried to skirt the North Carolina Public Records Act by sending correspondence on behalf of his clients to Goodwin’s home address.

[…]

State law requires anyone who engages in influencing or attempting to influence legislative or executive action to register as a lobbyist within one day of engaging in lobbying activity.

The North Carolina Secretary of State’s office maintains a registry of lobbyists, who are required to file disclosure forms for each of their clients each year.wgoodwin

Records maintained by the Secretary of State show Bibbs was registered as a lobbyist for several companies in 2015 but did not file any required paperwork for 2016 until mid-July.

But that didn’t stop Bibbs from trying to influence lawmakers during the 2016 short session.[…]

*Oops.* And it gets, um, “better”:

[…] The complaint filed by Brawley last week included emails that appear to have been sent by Bibbs to members of the North Carolina General Assembly and forwarded to staff at the North Carolina Department of Insurance seeking to sway its recipients away from supporting a bill that would add new regulations to bail agents.

Bibbs sent one email on June 28, 2016 to members of the House of Representatives who are attorneys asking them to oppose Senate Bill 508.images-2

“I wanted to ask you to vote against the PCS for Senate Bill 508 for another reason. Our legal profession is regulated by the North Carolina State Bar as you know only too well,” Bibbs’ email began. “Now imagine if a bill was passed that allowed the same type of regulators actions to be taken against our law licenses that will occur against bail bondsmen’ (sic) licenses if this bill passes.”

Another email, sent the day before to members of the House committee considering the bill, included the subject line “Re: Opposition To PCS for Senate Bill 508 – A BAD BAD BILL.”

In that email, Bibbs said he and his clients continued to oppose the legislation despite recent changes to the bill’s language.11943789-1399453879-300x225

In other emails attached to Brawley’s complaint, Bibbs advertised himself as a lobbyist.

An email advertising his legal services dated June 9, 2016, claims Bibbs is “lawyer and lobbyist for the North Carolina Bail Academy and Cannon Surety, LLC.”

The Secretary of State’s office shows Bibbs resigned his registration as a lobbyist for both entities in May 2015. He did not re-file disclosure paperwork registering him as a lobbyist for Cannon Surety until July 15, 2016, weeks after he sent emails to lawmakers on his clients’ behalf.

Bibbs has not re-filed as a lobbyist on behalf of the North Carolina Bail Academy, records show.

[…]

In addition to alleging Bibbs engaged in lobbying activity without being properly registered as a lobbyist, Brawley’s complaint also claims the Raleigh attorney is not authorized to represent Cannon Surety.

Brawley is the corporate secretary of Cannon Surety and invested a bulk of the money used to establish the company.

[…]ncleg

Oh.  Here comes the info about Bibbs’s ties to Moore and Goodwin:

[…] Records provided to On Your Side Investigates in response to a public records request show Bibbs frequently contacted Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin directly to discuss client’s matters.

One such communication came in December 2015 in a letter to Goodwin’s home addressed [sic].

“I am writing you this and sending it to your residence so that it will not be subject to any public records request,” Bibbs wrote in the letter’s opening paragraph. “It is personal. You and I have known each other since 1988, and have been close friends ever since.”

Towards the end of the letter, Bibbs reiterates his support for Goodwin.

[…] 6a013485bf5b22970c019afff43865970d

“I have always supported you, and will continue to support you NO MATTER what. I support my friends, whether they are right or wrong. That has been the hallmark all of my life. There is no exception, including with you,” Bibbs wrote. “I also do whatever I can to punish my enemies and the enemies of my friends. I have always done that. Including your enemies, if you have told me who they are. That is the way life works.”

[…]

Apparently, this Bibbs guy and Goodwin have had a major say in the internal operations of the Republican-led state House:

[…] In mid-January, Bibbs texted Goodwin several updates on the internal deliberations within Speaker Tim Moore’s office on committee leadership assignments.100percent-unimpressed

“BTW, Tim, Lewis and Dollar working on committees this weekend,” Bibbs texted Goodwin. “OK. Good to know,” Goodwin responded.

“Julia Howard will not be Finance chair. She may be a co chair. Depends on Leo. Leo will keep J 1. So Far. Who do you want as Insurance chair?” Bibbs said in a series of texts.

[…]

What A MESS.  Your elected officials at work, folks. 

In 2010, following the GOP takeover on Jones Street, we got a lot of lip service about how things were going to be “different.”  We’ve got a different set of money-changers in the temple, but the same foul stench remains. 

 

9 thoughts on “#ncga: Speaker, Insurance commissioner ensnared in lobbying scandal?

  1. Why did you include speaker Moore in this? It appears to be a bait and switch headline. Nothing in the body of the article points at speaker Moore. It’s all the insurance commissioner. Also, why did Brawley allow this guy to represent his company and now after-the-fact is saying that he did not and the filing a complaint? It’s obvious you do not like speaker Moore, but I am not seeing any content in this story directly related to him

    1. You don’t seem to have read the last part of the article. Liberal Speaker Tim Moore was dealing with this guy and allowing him influence on House committee appointments. Moore seems to shut out conservatives from within the GOP but he deals closely with liberal special interest groups and even liberal power brokers who are working with Democrats. Tim Moore is as bad, if not worse, than John Boehner was.

      1. Time for conservatives across the state to lean on their House GOP caucus members for a change of leadership next year.

    2. Ah, Mark Shiver of Civitas. Host of “What Matters.” Trying to fill Chad Adams’s big shoes.

      To paraphrase that classic 80s film Class Act : “Reading COMPREHENSION is Fundamental.”

      I would figure a professional broadcaster such as yourself would have that skill down pat. If you read the entire post, you will see the connection with Moore. Hell, it’s even mentioned in the first paragraph I quoted from Ochsner’s piece.

      Another commenter on the post added further details about the alleged Bibbs-Moore relationship.

      The Haymaker is all about serious business. We’re not about cheap shots. We’re about laying out the cold hard truth — the facts. If it hurts someone’s political agenda or career, so be it.

      Aren’t you bothered by the possibility that a lobbyist (a Democrat-aligned one at that ) has so much influence in choosing committee chairs in a GOP-dominated chamber?

      This line of work is all about looking out for the interests of the people — not protecting folks who have an R next to their name.

      I don’t know Tim Moore — so I can’t say I have a personal opinion on him either way. I am terribly troubled though by what I observe of his leadership of the House.

      1. Great reply. I love the next to last paragraph, which escapes almost everyone involved in “journalism” these days.

        I forgot that What Matters is still on. I have moved over to Chad Adam’s new show.

      2. It appears that NC Republican leaders are either too liberal or neck deep in ALEC.

        Are there any in between?

      3. Is Civitas now backing up Obama Republican Tim Moore as well as our iffy governor? I can sort of see the latter, but the former makes absolutely no sense for a conservative organization. Tim Moore is the most potent liberal big government force in state government today. Heck, look at where Moore falls on Civitas’ own rating, and it is not very pretty!

  2. Mark Bibbs has a long and troubled history, which is plainly evident from anyone who wants to look at his disciplinary record on the NC State Bar website. This guy is consumed with his own personal quest for power and influence and is willing to play both sides of the fence in his attempt to get it. He is a lifelong Democrat(protege of GK Butterfield) who has twice run twice for NC House out of Wilson, most recently losing in a primary to Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield in 2014. After this route went up in flames, I guess he decided he would try to use his connections to the Speaker, both being from Kings Mountain and supposedly rooming together at UNC, to pedal influence. I have no idea why the Speaker would let this guy within ten miles of his office.

    1. I guess this little incident will get him yet another black mark with the NC Bar. Why does Tim Moore deal with such slimeballs?

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