RALEIGH - Gov. Pat McCrory is firing back at critics after a news story published statewide raised questions about his ethics.
The Associated Press reported McCrory accepted a $185,000 payment from Charlotte-based broker Tree.com.
McCrory resigned his seat on the board of directors for online lender Tree.com the day before he took office. Weeks later, Tree.com's board voted to accelerate the vesting of thousands of shares of its stock that McCrory then accepted. They totaled $185,000.
"I haven't tried to hide it," McCrory told Eyewitness News in an exclusive interview. "I have followed all the rules and regulations of public officials. That (money) was for work that I'd done in the past, not while I was governor."
McCrory said he's made no decisions as governor related to Tree.com and insists he filled out state ethics forms correctly.
"The story implies I did something unethical, improper or even illegal," McCrory said. Asked if he did, McCrory replied "absolutely not."
McCrory and his team have come out swinging. His office released an aggressive rebuttal to the AP story and his campaign sent donors an email asking for money to help fight the media.
The governor says he's most annoyed at what he considered a challenge to his integrity.
"I have a clear record. There is absolutely no example of unethical or improper behavior and I'm proud of that," McCrory said.
The State Ethics Commission says it has had no complaint about the governor's actions.
McCrory’s office released a statement Tuesday night after the AP story.
"The governor has done everything in a proper and ethical manner. This is a classic example of partisan drive-by journalism that deliberately misrepresents the facts. The AP is making reckless accusations through anonymous people about laws that they cannot cite," wrote Josh Ellis, communications director.
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