A battle is brewing over control of North Carolina's State Bureau of Investigation.
A budget proposal presented by Republicans in the N.C. Senate calls for transferring most of the SBI to the Department of Public Safety.
For decades it has been part of the Department of Justice and has been overseen by the state Attorney General.
But GOP senators say it's time for a change.
They point out that other state law enforcement agencies including the State Highway Patrol, Alcohol Law Enforcement and Emergency Management already report to the Secretary of Public Safety.
"It simply does not make sense for the state's top attorney to supervise the SBI, just like it wouldn't make sense for your local district attorney to supervise your sheriffs or police," said Sen. Harry Brown, a Republican from Jacksonville, N.C.
The proposal, however, is getting stiff opposition.
Attorney General Roy Cooper says keeping the SBI independent of the governor's administration is important for the public. "This is bad for law enforcement, public safety and the fight against public corruption," Cooper said.
He points out that many of the SBI's corruption investigation involve state employees and officials. Over the last decade former Govs. Beverly Perdue and Mike Easley, as well as former House Speaker Jim Black have faced corruption probes.
Cooper says "Putting the SBI under any Governor's administration increases the risk that corruption and cover up occur with impunity."
Senate Republicans say the move is an organizational one rather than one with political motives.
In fact, backers of the proposal point out that the SBI's actual corruption unit would remain under the control of the attorney general. Cooper, though, says while that may be technically true his ability to investigate corruption would be gutted. He says the Senate plan would allow him to keep only four or five SBI employees out of the entire staff.
"Leaving only a handful out of 423 people is a fig leaf that will severely cripple the fight against public corruption," Cooper said.
He may have an unlikely ally. A spokesperson for McCrory, whose own budget proposal does not include any changes to the SBI, said "An argument has yet to be presented to the governor as to why the transfer of the SBI is necessary.
The governor's proposed budget does not ask for the move. We have other operational priorities we need to fix."