One day after North Carolina Democrat party lawyers deposed NC GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse to engage in what Woodhouse dismissed as “a fishing expedition”, Republicans cast a line of their own but with a much larger hook and serious implications for Gov. Roy Cooper.
Woodhouse was forced to answer questions in response to Democrats’ demands to know what role he played in the his party’s cancellation of this year’s judicial primaries. The deposition is tied to a Democrat party lawsuit against GOP leaders Tim Moore and Phil Berger, attempting to overturn the elimination of those primaries last year.
While the lawsuit is little more than a sideshow — non-judicial county primaries are May 8; the case isn’t set for trial until June, leaving no time to wedge in another primary for judges — the NC GOP on April 24 issued a request for something with a bit more teeth, a federal investigation of Cooper and his role in the Governor’s office taking control of a $58 million pipeline fund.
The NC GOP is citing the Hobbs Act of 1949 in its submission to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Raleigh-based Robert J. Higdon Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
The Hobbs Act prevents wrongful property extortion by public officials whether they personally benefit financially or not. Eight governors have been convicted of public corruption through the Hobbs Act since becoming law 69 years ago.
Read the request for implementation of the Hobbs Act in the Cooper matter here.
A joint statement was issued by NC GOP Chairman Robin Hayes and Woodhouse:
“The conduct of Governor Cooper regarding the $58 million pipeline fund, designed to be under his sole control, appears to be the worst example of pay-to-play politics, intended to benefit him personally and/or politically. A serious look by federal investigators is warranted.”