• NC Board of Elections 'not inclined' to delay hearing over senator's ailing mother

    By: Joe Bruno

    Updated:

    NORTH CAROLINA - The State Board of Elections chairman says he is “not inclined” to delay a hearing despite the serious illness of a Republican senator’s mother and campaign treasurer.

    The board is investigating potential campaign finance violations by Republican Sen. Ralph Hise, who represents Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, McDowell, Rutherford and Polk counties.

    [LINK: Ralph Hise complaint]

    A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday on the matter.

    In an Oct. 5 letter to Chairman Andy Penry, an attorney for Hise said the senator’s mother, Shirley Hise, was admitted to a hospital in Asheville due to complications from her cancer treatments.

    “She is not able to walk and currently has currently has serious health issues that will not allow her to come to Raleigh on October 17 to appear at the hearing,” Steven Long, Hise’s attorney, wrote.

    The letter states Ms. Hise served as treasurer from 2009 to 2017.

    “She calculated the amounts that were paid to Senator Hise for mileage reimbursements, which are the center of the Board’s inquiry,” Long wrote. “Senator Hise cannot make a full and fair presentation to the Board without the testimony of the Committee’s treasurer.”

    [LINK: Ralph Hise letter 1]

    In response to Long’s letter, on Monday, Penry said he placed the request for a delay on the agenda for next Wednesday.

    It’s unclear if the board will delay the hearing, but Chairman Penry implied in the letter that an additional delay is not guaranteed.

    “You should be prepared to proceed with all portions of your presentation other than the testimony of Ms. Hise,” Penry said. “As Chair, I am not inclined to delay the entire matter to an unknown date.”

    The chairman said in the letter that the case has been delayed already on several occasions and state law requires these matters are resolved expeditiously.

    [LINK: Ralph Hise letter 2]

    Additionally in the letter, Chairman Penry asked Long to consider to providing the following details related to Ms. Hise:

    • Provide the Board with evidence, including a verified statement from a treating physician, that Ms. Hise is unable to participate in the proceeding;
    • Provide evidence as to when Ms. Hise will reasonably be able to participate;
    • Provide evidence that all forms of participation, including written statements, telephonic or web participation, or depositions have been considered and are not possible;
    • Provide evidence that your clients will be unfairly prejudiced if Ms. Hise cannot participate;
    • Provide evidence that the information anticipated to be provided by Ms. Hise cannot be provided by others or by documentary evidence, including the affidavit previously submitted on Aug. 21.

    A spokesperson for the State Board of Elections confirmed the hearing is still scheduled for Wednesday.

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