It sounds like SOMEBODY is not having a very merry Christmas:
Dear Republican colleagues,
I appreciate all of you who joined my conference call last Thursday afternoon. For those of you who were unable to join the call, I have attached the full text of the remarks I made on the call for your review.
The remarks I made on the conference call represent my best effort to explain why the allegations leveled at me in a recent WBTV segment are absurd. This drumbeat of pay to play is baseless, without merit, and 100% false. Many of you have asked me why I am being attacked in a coordinated fashion. I’ll tell you why.
I’m disappointed to have to report to you that Pat Gannon, a reporter for the News & Observer and the Insider, told me directly that Representative Hager was pushing him to write a second attack article about me. Given that Representative Hager recently organized a hastily called meeting of Republican House leaders in an attempt to get Caucus leadership to help him manufacture some means of embarrassing me-by sanctioning me in some way- I am not surprised to learn of Representative Hager’s destructive and negative actions toward me. If Representative Hager believes I will stand by while he uses the media to falsely attack me, he is sorely mistaken.
I appreciate your consideration of these facts. I will continue representing the people of Harnett County with honesty, integrity, and a commitment to conservative principles as I have done for the past 13 years.
Representative David Lewis
(I bet the pressure of your first primary, impeachment proceedings, and at least ONE ethics complaint from a Republican colleague can be tough to bear.)
Good afternoon, I hate to take your time during this busy time of year and on such short notice. Unfortunately, another issue has come up. I am doing this via conference call because I simply do not have time to call each and every one of you before 5pm today and furthermore, I do not have confidence in sending an email to our caucus distribution list. With that being said, I appreciate each and every one of you taking time from your personal schedule to call in. I know all of you are extremely busy—I myself am off to my son’s basketball game as soon as we are finished here and currently missing the year end board meeting at John Deere.
Yesterday Nick Oschner, the TV reporter in Charlotte, contacted me for an interview on the theme the press continues to advance, which is that some members of the House, Senate, and Executive branch are engaging in pay to play. This particular story, which will air a 5pm tonight, will allege that I took some action to help a campaign contributor who currently holds the contract to print judicial appellate decision journals. The story will allege that in House Bill 38, which was filed by Representatives Davis and Burr, that I removed a provision that would require entities needing to receive these journals to opt in with the Administrative Office of the Courts or no longer receive the journal. The fact is that the House and Senate unanimously passed House Bill 224 only weeks earlier—at the request of Administrative Office of the Courts, through an agency bill—that provided for an opt out from receiving these judicial appellate decision journals.
If your eyes have already glazed over at this point, I’m certain you are not alone.
Adding to the intrigue of whether or not entities should opt in or opt out of receiving these appellate judicial review journals, the reporter alleges that the contributor—who would stand to benefit from the opt in as opposed to the opt out version—his name was misspelled by the CPA firm with whom I hire to fill out and electronically submit my reports to the state board of elections. This clerical error was fixed immediately upon being brought to my attention by the reporter.
As the reporter himself must have recognized, there wasn’t enough excitement in the story he has sought to advance that the contributor, Owen Andrews, is a lobbyist principal and is therefore ineligible to contribute during session. This is not true.
Oh by the way, regarding the fate of House Bill 38, the provision that allows for the opt in over the opt out was added back into the bill to the finance committee and passed the house unanimously, with my vote. In an effort to help the reporter understand, I shared with him a statement prepared by the senior staff attorney for both the House Elections and Joint Ethics Committee where she clearly defines what a lobbyist principal is and is not. Despite this, the reporter has further reached out to the Speaker’s office, the Governor’s office and the NCGOP and asked them the exact same question.
The bottom line is, in my opinion AND the opinion of several members of the capitol press corps, there is no story here.
Regrettably, the only reason you and are on this call right now is that certain members in our caucus have taken it upon themselves to use this insignificant issue to advance what they see as a political battle with me.
I have been told by other members of the press corps that Members of our Caucus have literally sought them out and tried to pressure them to run stories the Members consider harmful to me and several have even prefaced their conversations with “Well, they’re at it again.”
I want you to know that I have refused to take the bait. It is in none of our interest to waste so much time and energy pursuing petty political family feuds when the real enemy, the liberal interests that want to take over our state and reverse our hard won victories are the real winners when we choose to shoot at each other.
I have, for 13 years, served with honor and integrity and, provided the voters of Harnett County choose me again, will continue to serve to improve the lives of working families in our state.
I don’t want to belabor the point, but what we’ve accomplished together is pretty impressive. Together, we’ve lowered taxes, reduced regulations, helped people get back to work, invested in education, advanced energy freedom and so much more.
I know the temptation is to think this is easy and our majorities are perpetual. If we all give in to the temptation to put our personal ambitions and biases against each other ahead of working for the people, we will not be here long.
As for me, please don’t mistake my kindness with weakness. I will turn the other cheek as long as I can. But I have a good memory.
My belief in this Institution and my faith in most of you remains unshaken.
If you have any questions about me or the way I discharge my duties, I encourage you to pick up the phone and call me.