*Surprise, Surprise!* Robert Brawley gets primaried.

brawMoore County’s Richard Morgan set the standard for hard-nosed vindictive political tactics during his tenure in the NC House.  If a legislator dared to “cross” him, Morgan would personally seek out a primary challenger for said legislator.  One example was the GOP primary for NC House District 98  in 2006.  The incumbent, John Rhodes, had been making headlines by pointing out ethical issues and other malfeasance by Morgan and Morgan’s compatriot, Democrat Jim Black.(Rhodes’ efforts led to the imprisonment of Black and Morgan’s own primary loss in 2006.) 

That year, Morgan publicly sought out primary opponents for his GOP critics in the NC House.  Early in that effort, a fresh-faced challenger named Thom Tillis “mysteriously” popped up District 98.  Morgan and Black aided and abetted the anti-Rhodes effort, and Tillis ended up winning the primary.

It appears Tillis learned well from his political mentor.  There has been some uproar over Tillis’ involvement in GOP primaries in eastern North Carolina (particularly the races of former Rep. and now-Senator Bill Cook).

In May, a dispute between Tillis and state Rep. Robert Brawley went public.  Brawley leveled a number of ethics accusations against Tillis, and ended up leaving his committee chairmanship post.  (A recent court decision added credibility to some parts of Brawley’s case.)

McClatchy broke the story last night about a Mooresville businessman’s announcement he would primary Brawley in 2014.  (It’s interesting The  N&O got it before the candidate’s hometown paper did.  Clearly, someone was sending an implicit message to a very specific audience in our state capital.) 

The challenger, John Fraley, hits Brawley — surprisingly — on the issue of ethics:

“It’s time to put an end to old-style, backroom politics and instead work to solve problems. That’s what my candidacy is all about, to run a vigorous campaign to win.

Fraley said he is providing $75,000 to his campaign as he begins raising funds.

Fraley leveled a criticism at Brawley for introducing legislation to remove the ban on lobbyists giving gifts to lawmakers. “My opponent’s bill to allow lobbyists to give gifts to lawmakers would benefit only one resident of Iredell County: Him,” Fraley remarked. “I’m running to help create jobs, enhance education for our children and improve the lives of all the citizens of Iredell County, not just a chosen few.”

Hmm. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Brawley wants to legalize bribery.  Let’s give Brawley a chance to speak up about that legislation: 

 A veteran Republican House lawmaker has filed a proposal to allow lobbyists to once again give unreported gifts to state lawmakers in North Carolina.

House Bill 640, filed by Rep. Robert Brawley, R-Iredell, would roll back many of the ethics reforms passed by state lawmakers in the wake of the House Speaker Jim Black scandal of 2006.

The measure would repeal bans on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers and relax requirements that lobbyists disclose such gifts.

Brawley returned to the state legislature in 2013 after having served from 1981 till his retirement in 1998 – well before the current gift bans were enacted. He’s currently a member of House leadership, serving as chairman of the Finance Committee, an influential post that would almost certainly attract lobbyists’ interest.

Brawley said via email that required ethics classes on gifts and disclosure requirements “are useless for anyone without internal ethics anyway.”

“They only tell you the law. They do not guarantee integrity,” he said. “What makes you think a person without ethics is going to obey a law anyway?”

Brawley also said in his message that the gift ban and other ethics laws pertaining to lawmakers and lobbyists “are an impediment to meeting and exchanging ideas and information.” 

“Yes, that often takes place over dinner, but there is more influence in who is nice to each other than there is in the exchange of money,” he wrote. 

“Those who feel left out because their threats and intimidation did not help them might learn from the old adage about honey,” he added.

“I believe in the integrity of people, including legislators and, in over 30 years of serious involvement, have not seen any situation that these laws would have prevented or improved,” Brawley said.


5 thoughts on “*Surprise, Surprise!* Robert Brawley gets primaried.

  1. Tilli$ has also been seeking a primary opponent to Rep. Pittman, another conservative. Tilli$ is an anti-conservative and a thug. We also have to remember that Tilli$ used control of the House redistricting process in 2012 to eviscerate the districts of two conservatives who refused to be his lapdogs, Rep. Glen Bradley and Rep. Bill Cook.

    What type of primary candidate does ”Tammany Hall” Tilli$ like? A good example is who he pushed in the 6th district in 2012 in the GOP primary, a just re-registered former liberal Democrat legislator Arthur Williams. Tilli$ denied it, but Congressman Walter Jones office admitted that Tilli$ had called them seeking an endorsement for Williams. Tilli$ is also known to have made fundraising calls for Williams.

    Due to things like this, no thinking conservative should even consider voting for Tilli$ for US Senate. Hopefully we can beat this Tammany Hall style thug in the primary, but if not, there is not a dime’s worth of difference between Tilli$ and Hagan.

    Brawley has never been involved in pay for play, but pay for play is a way of life for the corrupt Tilli$.

  2. Can’t we just elect the most constitutionally conservative guy/gal who will always put North Carolina’s interest’s first? These local cozy cartels of incompetent, criminal, decadent politicians make my skin itch. If Mr. Brawley is endorsed by the tea-party then he’s in. Period. With just a few months before 2014 elections those of us from failed “blue” states don’t care about gifts & social issues. Like a surgeon we must stay focused. Obama is committed to outreach & support with sworn enemies across the globe who murder our soldiers and scream “Death to America!”
    Trillions in debt, Obamacare, IRS & NSA scandals, Fast & Furious, downing of Navy Seals in Afghanistan, BENGHAZI, Common Core, 50 million on entitlements. Who best to represent NC? Can a horse run an empire? Well, since Senate Majority Leader Harry “Caligula” Reid ended the filibuster we may as well have Caligula’s horse,” Incitatus” stand in for the republicans. So if Kay Hagen ,Obama, and the rest of the neo-communists continue to bankrupt America & North Carolina’s senior senator can’t even rate as (his namesake) a skin irritant under a horse’s saddle, the solution is every constitutional conservative get behind Dr. Brannon, the most brilliant, dynamic, accomplished candidate who will decimate Hagen.
    Cruz, Paul,& Lee, all demonstrate that a true conservative can win against all odds.

  3. So let me get this staight, Thom Tillis is the Karl Rove/GOP establishment’s candidate who was mentored by Jim Black, the Democrat speaker who went to prison, and Richard Morgan who was kicked out of the Republican party for working with Jim Black and the Democrats to hurt Republicans?

    Thom Tillis is the GOP establishment’s candidate of choice who is actively instigating primaries against conservative Republican members of the legislature?

    Thom Tillis is the GOP establishment’s candidate of choice whose married chief of staff and roomate had an affair with a married paid lobbyist in Tillis’s shared apartment? Didn’t Tillis’s other staff have to resign because of affairs in his office with other lobbyists and then Tillis authorized costly severance packages?

    Thom Tillis is the GOP establishment’s candidate who is hurting the people of his district by imposing toll roads so people have to pay a fee each time they drive to and from work?

    Thom Tillis is the GOP establishment’s candidate who says we can’t really fight against Obamacare because it the law of the land and we don’t want to oppose President Obama and his policies?

    Thom Tillis is the GOP establishment’s candidate who has hired Paul Shumaker as his campaign consultant? The same consultant that was used to help Jim Black the Democrat remain Speaker after the Republicans won the majority in the legislature, that was before, the Democrat speaker and Tillis’s mentor went to prison.

    I would never vote for a candidate like Thom Tillis it would be kind of like endorsing corruption. Maybe the GOP insiders and establishment’s choice of Thom Tillis is not concerned with the perception of being corrupt, maybe they just don’t care.

  4. Let me say right up front. I don’t know Fraley or a thing about him. He might be an honorable, worthy man capable of the job.

    But I do know Brawley. He has more ethics and integrity in one pinkie finger than ALL THE REST of the thugs elected in Raleigh, including many shameless Republicans.

    Brawley knows how to tell the truth, which should be a skill as easy as tying your shoelaces, but seems to escape almost every politician. Brawley sleeps well at night in the comfort of knowing he stood for the right thing, not necessarily the popular thing or the powermonger position.

    For a second, let me lower my standards and go ‘rogue’. Brawley is a tough character, a veteran helicopter pilot, a stout, gritty man who isn’t afraid of much except his maker, and in a real physical standoff, my money says he would kick Thom the Mountain Biker’s derriere despite a twenty year age difference.

    Okay back to reality. Tillis probably has some responsibility for Brawley having a challenger, but Brawley is beloved by his constituents, and that will be hard for Fraley to overcome. In fact Tillis has his hand in lots of things behind the scenes.

    Brawley was treated like a leper by a lot of his colleagues after following his conscience this past session. The lawmakers are expected not to buck the leadership, and Brawley it appears was to be made an example of what happens to a member who breaks rank. So here we are months later….Brawley is able to hold his head high and can talk publicly about any of his actions. Thillis on the other hand, is fighting for his political career, dogged by real back room deals, and pay to play influence from a growing list of industries, and unable to give more than a pat political answer when called out. Who got punished?

    Now, as the clever editor of this blog has noted, Brawley was vindicated by the Court of Appeals decision recently. That is something I know about too.

    What happened to a little ol’ education provider in search of free market competition has been looked at by six different judges now. ALL have agreed that the BAILGATE scandal was a travesty, unconstitutional, and illegal. Let’s review…with the careful ‘hands off’ aid of Justin Burr and Tom Apodaca, their ‘baby’ the Bail Agents Association was named in a sleazy abrupt law change to be the only education provider, and eliminating all existing competition forever more. ALL THIS HAPPENED UNDER TILLIS’ WATCH. Unfortunately, the little guys didn’t go away and there is a paper trail, and audio trail, and a slug trail.

    As of Friday, the culprits fueled by GOP leader and their attorney Phil Strach, have now appealed the Court of Appeals decision to the Supreme Court. If you read some of the ridiculous briefs filed by Mr. Strach even a layman will quickly surmise he is counting on Newby and his other contacts for political help in lieu of his own legal prowess. Stay tuned. What is not so widely known is that the Supreme Court decision whether Newby climbs out of Strach’s pocket or not, is only the beginning. Because the appeal is only on a preliminary injunction, the case will return to Superior Court, and that my friends is where the sphincter pucker factor soars.

    Tillis, Apodaca, Burr, and others will be deposed under oath and may testify in open court.

    What a conundrum! The Republican party, friend to free market and competition exposed as self serving anti competitive doubletalkers who trample the constitution rather than follow it. Or the Republicans who realize the error of their ways, reverse course, do the right thing, and give us hope.

    My money says they double down, and count on a lapdog press not to make them look any worse. Continue with their support however convoluted of those involved in BAILGATE, and try to spin things and act like nothing is out of sorts. They’re sleazy like that. We will see what Newby is made of. Some say he is bought and paid for. Others say he is an honorable man. We will see.

    What I know is that Robert Brawley was the ONLY person willing to admit there was something hinky in BAILGATE and instead of dodging or ducking, tried to do the right thing, and asked his party to do the right thing. For that he was vilified, shunned, and treated like a traitor. Remember folks, Hancock, Franklin, Henry, , Jefferson and others were considered traitors at one time too. You are in good company Mr. Brawley.

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