• North Carolina lawmakers vote to override veto affecting District 9 race

    By: Joe Bruno

    Updated:

    RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina lawmakers voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of legislation he said would add secrecy to campaign finance investigations.

    [SPECIAL SECTION: District 9 investigation]

    The Republican-controlled North Carolina House and Senate voted largely along party lines. Two Democrats, Sen. Joel Ford and Rep. Duane Hall, voted to override Cooper's veto. Three Republicans, Reps. Larry Pittman, John Blust and Michael Speciale voted against overriding Cooper's veto.

    The bill originally passed with strong bipartisan support.

    The elections bill would also require new primaries, not just a general election, in the disputed U.S. House District 9 race, if the state elections board deems new voting is necessary.

    That's not the part Democratic Cooper cited in his veto decision. Rather, he said he vetoed the bill because of a measure that would make future state elections board investigations of campaign finance allegations confidential.

    [RELATED: Harvard professor provides NCSBE with sworn affidavit]

    Cooper issued the following statement Wednesday:

    “Disturbing allegations of election fraud in the 9th Congressional District race are mounting. Yet it’s astonishing that the legislature has passed a bill, HB 1029 (which I vetoed), that mandates secrecy for campaign finance investigations by the Elections Board. Not only that, the new bill makes it harder to prosecute people and groups that violate campaign finance laws."

    “Tell legislators that you don’t want to protect politicians who commit fraud. This bill was rammed through in a few hours with little time for research. Tell them not to override the veto tomorrow, Dec. 27 and instead negotiate a clean elections bill with me. We are down to the last 5 days of the lame-duck Republican super-majority. Don’t let the last act make it easier on criminals.” 


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    Republican lawmakers largely dismissed this criticism. Sen. Dan Bishop compared it to the FBI not confirming or denying investigations.

    While Cooper was not opposed to a new primary, several lawmakers cited it as a reason for their opposition.

    "This is not needed," Democratic Rep. Darren Jackson of Raleigh said. "If Rep. Pittenger wants to challenge the certification of the primary, he can do that. The U.S. House of Representatives can order whatever they want if they don't want to seat a member, but we should not be getting involved with elections that have already taken place."

    "I don't think we need to keep jumping around, tampering with election laws here there and everywhere just because we don't like rules and what we think is going to happen," Republican Rep. Larry Pittman, of Concord, said.

    Mark Harris finished ahead of Dan McCready by 905 votes, but the race has not been certified, pending an investigation.

    Sources told Channel 9's District 9 expert Joe Bruno, Harris will ask the state board of elections to certify the election Friday. If that doesn't happen, Republicans will ask a federal court to order the state to certify Harris as the winner.

     

    An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11.

     

    (The Associated Press contributed to this report)

    (The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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