Rapid ResponseSenateThe Wire

MEMO: Thom Tillis? Bring it On

To: Interested Parties
From: Brad Woodhouse, President of American Bridge
Subject: Thom Tillis Conservative Enough for November Loss
Date: Tuesday, May 6, 2014

North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis, foe of working families and wannabe Tea Party hero, managed to drag his feet across the finish line in today’s Republican primary thanks to $2.5 million in support from establishment GOP groups like Crossroads. Now that Tillis has sufficiently touted his extreme conservative positions and record to advance from this far right primary, he is well on his way to defeat in November.

Don’t take my word for it – take a look at Tillis’s abysmal track record in the state house and his extreme rhetoric on the campaign trail. In the state legislature, Tillis has cut education funding by nearly $500 million, bragged about rejecting federal funds for Medicaid expansion, raised taxes on 80% of North Carolinians, made it harder for North Carolinians to exercise their right to vote, and slashed funding for women’s health clinics.

As he scurried to the right in this bruising primary, Tillis’s extreme rhetoric has been on full display. Tillis has said he would consider eliminating the minimum wage, recently claimed that climate change is not a proven fact, has said he thinks states should have the right to ban birth control, supports personhood, and joined national Tea Party leaders in supporting last fall’s government shutdown.

Couple Tillis’s extreme views with his well documented ethical lapses and history of pay-to-play and you have a recipe for his defeat in the Tar Heel state.

Background

Thom Tillis: The Extreme Conservative

Tillis Supported The Federal Government Shutdown

Tillis Said He Would Not Have Voted For The Deal That Ended The Government Shutdown. According to Thom Tillis’ Facebook, “Thom Tillis, conservative Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, released the following statement regarding Wednesday’s shutdown/debt ceiling deal: ‘Kicking the can down the road does not solve any problems, it only creates a bigger mess. The President and Congress owe the American people a fiscally responsible budget focused on ensuring a sound economy and a safe America. Failure to do so not only threatens the foundation of our economic system, but poses a greater threat to our national security. I could not have supported this legislation.’” [Thom Tillis’ Facebook, 10/17/13]

In 2013, Tillis Passed Legislation That Threatened To Close All But One Abortion Clinic In North Carolina

Tillis Passed Abortion Regulation Bill That Would “Impose Stricter Regulations On Abortion Clinics, Require More Contact Between Abortion Clinic Doctors And Patients, And Limit Insurance Coverage For The Procedure.” According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “Waiting until the last full day of the session, the state Senate on Thursday approved the abortion bill that it had been holding for nearly two weeks. The Senate voted 32-13 to approve a House-written version of the sweeping bill. It would impose stricter regulations on abortion clinics, require more contact between abortion clinic doctors and patients, and limit insurance coverage for the procedure. Senate Bill 353 was a House rewrite that took into account concerns raised by the state Department of Health and Human Services. The bill now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory, who has said he would sign the House version but not the Senate’s, over concerns that the Senate’s bill imposed undue obstacles to abortions rather than acceptable health safeguards.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/25/13]

  • Abortion Restrictions Bill Raised Standards For Abortion Clinics To Make Them Consistent With Outpatient Surgical Centers, And Required A Doctor To Be Present For The Entirety Of A Surgical Abortion And The Initial Stage Of A Chemically Induced Abortion. According to the Associated Press, “The bill directs state regulators to change standards for abortion clinics to bring them in line with more regulated outpatient surgical centers. It also requires doctors to be present for an entire surgical abortion and when a patient takes the first dose for a chemically induced abortion.” [Associated Press, 7/11/13]
  • Abortion Restrictions Bill Expanded The Rights Of Doctors And Nurses To Refuse To Participate In Abortions On Ethical Or Religious Grounds. According to the Associated Press, “The measure also would prohibit carrying out abortions on the basis of gender, curb abortion insurance coverage and expand the ability of doctors and nurses to refuse to participate in an abortion on ethical or religious grounds to other medical professionals.” [Associated Press, 7/11/13 

Tillis Cut State And Federal Funding From Planned Parenthood

Tillis’ Budget Included A Provision To Cut Off State And Federal Funding For Planned Parenthood. According to the News & Observer, “It appears that Tillis is willing to spend some time during the coming session revisiting at least one budget provision that is the subject of litigation. One of the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates is suing over the provision that cuts the group off from state and federal funding for family planning. A federal judge recently ruled that the state must keep the group’s funding intact until the lawsuit is resolved. Tillis told the Associated Press that lawmakers could consider rewriting the provision when they meet in September to avoid further litigation while retaining the law’s original purpose.” [News & Observer, 8/30/11]

A Federal Judge Ruled It Was Illegal To Cut Off Funding To Planned Parenthood

Federal Judge James Beaty Jr. Blocked The North Carolina Family Planning Funding Cut Because It Was Adopted Specifically To Penalize Planned Parenthood For The Organization’s Stance In Favor Of Abortion Rights. According to the Associated Press, “North Carolina cannot withhold funding from Planned Parenthood until a lawsuit over that provision of the state budget has been resolved, a federal judge ruled late Friday. The ruling by Judge James Beaty Jr. gives at least a temporary reprieve to Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina while they seek to invalidate the portion of the state budget that would withhold funding for non-abortion services. The group, one of two Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state, said the injunction should allow them to keep operating until the lawsuit over the provision known as Section 10.19 is resolved. ‘Based on the evidence before the court, it appears that Section 10.19 was adopted specifically to penalize Planned Parenthood’ for the organization’s stance in favor of abortion rights, Beaty wrote, even though the law bars the group from using public money for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger. Planned Parenthood in North Carolina provides a range of other services, from tests for diabetes and high cholesterol to screening for sexually transmitted diseases.” [Associated Press, 8/19/11]

Tillis Thought States Should Be Able To Ban Birth Control

Tillis Thought States Should Have The Right To Ban Contraceptives. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “At a GOP forum last month, candidates also said they thought states had the right to ban contraceptives. Tillis, who skipped the event, later said he agreed.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 1/31/14]

Tillis Supported Personhood

Tillis Supports A “‘Personhood’ Constitutional Amendment That Would Grant Legal Protections To A Fertilized Human Egg And Possibly Ban Some Forms Of Birth Control.” “The Republican candidates also say the state has the authority to ban contraceptives and favor a ‘personhood’ constitutional amendment that would grant legal protections to a fertilized human egg and possibly ban some forms of birth control.” Accompanying this article is a chart which said that Tillis “supports” a “personhood amendment.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 1/31/14]

Tillis’ Budget Eliminated Tenure And Pay For Public School Teachers, And Cut Teaching Assistants

FY 2014 State Budget Eliminated Teacher Tenure And Directed Taxpayer Money To Pay For Private School Tuition. According to WRAL, “House and Senate leaders announced Sunday that they have reached an agreement on a $20.6 billion state budget that will end teacher tenure and allow taxpayer money to be spent for private school tuition. A final draft of the bill and an accompanying ‘money report’ the provides much of the detail in the budget were posted online late Sunday night. Both chambers have previously passed their own spending plans, but Republican leaders wrangled for weeks to come to a consensus even as the July 1 start of the 2013-2014 fiscal year came and went. […] Both the House and Senate are expected to give the spending plan at least tentative approval on Tuesday.” [WRAL, 7/21/13] 

FY 2014 State Budget Cut Funding For Teacher Assistants By $120 Million. According to the Black Mountain News, “The budget would cut funding for teacher assistants by $120 million and do away with career status also known as tenure for teachers.” [Black Mountain News, 7/23/13]

  • State Budget Cut Spending For Teachers’ Assistants By $120 Million, A 21% Budget Cut. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “Teacher assistants take a hit in the budget released Sunday, which reduces state spending on them by $120 million, or about 21 percent.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/21/13]

Tillis Slashed Funding For K-12 Public Education And State Universities By Almost $500 Million

FY 2014 State Budget Cut Education Spending By Nearly $500 Million Over The Next Two Years. According to the Black Mountain News, “The $11.5 billion portion of the state budget set aside for public schools, community colleges and the University of North Carolina system cuts education spending by nearly $260 million this year and another $222 million next year.” [Black Mountain News, 7/23/13]

Tillis’ Proposed State Budget Spent $13 Million Less On Community Colleges And $53 Million Less On The State University System Than The Senate Budget. According to WRAL, “The House spends slightly less than Senate on education: $13 less million community college; $66 million more on K-12; $53 million less on university system in 2013-14.” [WRAL, 6/10/13]

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Tillis Passed State Budget That “Shorts Public Education.” In an editorial, the Raleigh News & Observer wrote: “The tax law set the stage for a state budget approved Wednesday that shorts public education, especially teachers.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/24/13]

Tillis Wanted To Eliminate The Federal Department Of Education

Tillis Said He Would Eliminate The Federal Department Of Education. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “The candidates all favored smaller government. Each named different federal departments they want to eliminate: Tillis said the Department of Education and Mark Harris said Education, Energy and Commerce, Grant said the Environmental Protection Agency and Greg Brannon named four departments, Health and Human Services, Education, the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Service.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 4/22/14]

  • Tillis Said That “We Existed For More Than A Century Without One.” According to Politico, “Tillis said he opposes Common Core and he identified the U.S. Education Department when asked to identify a federal cabinet agency he would eliminate. ‘We existed for more than a century without one,’ said Tillis, offering a nuanced explanation. ‘That’s the first department I’d look at … At some point, I’d wonder whether or not it needs to exist in its current form.’” [Politico, 4/22/14] 

Tillis Refused Federal Money To Expand Medicaid, Which Would Have Covered Half A Million More People In North Carolina

Tillis Said That Under His Leadership North Carolina “Refused Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion And Refused To Build A State Exchange To Implement Obamacare.” According to Thom Tillis for U.S. Senate, “As the leader of the conservative reform movement to overthrow Democrats in Raleigh in the 2010 elections, Tillis made the rejection of Obamacare his first order of business as Speaker of the House. Under Tillis’ leadership, North Carolina has refused Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and refused to build a state exchange to implement Obamacare in North Carolina. ‘My campaign to beat Kay Hagan is the key to a new conservative majority that will repeal Obamacare and balance the budget,’Tillis said. ‘It is a badge of honor to be attacked by Harry Reid and I will work night and day to beat Kay Hagan and overthrow his majority in the U.S. Senate.’” [Thom Tillis for U.S. Senate, 12/5/13]

  • Medicaid Expansion Would Have Covered An Additional 500,000 In North Carolina. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “Expansion of Medicaid would have covered an additional 500,000 people in North Carolina. As federal reimbursements decline, hospitals in the state will continue to care for the uninsured.” [Asheville Citizen-Times, 10/27/13]

Tillis Changed Unemployment Insurance, Causing At Least 65,000 North Carolinians To Lose Benefits

The North Carolina General Assembly Cut The Maximum Weekly Payment Available Through Unemployment Insurance, Which Caused Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Payments To The Long-Term Unemployed To Cease. According to The Laurinburg Exchange, “When the state General Assembly cut the maximum weekly payment available through unemployment insurance, federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation payments to the long-term unemployed ceased.” [The Laurinburg Exchange, 12/12/13]

  • Tillis Voted In Favor Of The Bill On February 5, 2013. According to the North Carolina House of Representatives, on February 5th, 2013, Thom Tillis voted in favor of the Unemployment Insurance Fund Solvency & Program Changes. The House passed the bill by a vote of 77 to 42, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 36 to 12, and the Governor signed the bill into law. [North Carolina House of Representatives, Roll Call #17, 2/5/13; North Carolina General Assembly, H.B 4]

More Than 65,000 Were Cut Off On July 1st When North Carolina Was Subsequently Rendered Ineligible For Federal Emergency Unemployment. According to The Laurinburg Exchange, “As North Carolina was thereby rendered ineligible for federal emergency unemployment, more than 65,000 people receiving those benefits were cut off on July 1, some 350 of them in Scotland County.” [The Laurinburg Exchange, 12/12/13] 

Tillis Said Raising The Minimum Wage Was A “Dangerous Idea”

Tillis Said He Opposed Raising The Minimum Wage And Said It Was A “Dangerous Idea.” According to Under The Dome, “U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis on Wednesday said he opposes President Barack Obama’s plan to increase the federal minimum wage, calling it a ‘dangerous idea.’” [Under The Dome, 2/26/14]

Tillis Said The Minimum Wage “Drives Up Costs And It Could Harm Jobs.” According to Under The Dome, “‘I have serious concerns with the discussion around minimum wage because it drives up costs and it could harm jobs,’ Tillis said after making his bid official at the State Board of Elections in Raleigh. ‘Obviously we want people to be paid a wage that could help make ends meet, but when you increase artificially the cost of labor to do a job, then often times those jobs will just go away.’” [Under The Dome, 2/26/14]

Tillis Did Not Answer What He Thought A Living Wage Was, But Said The Market Should Define What It Was.According to Under The Dome, “Asked what he considered a living wage, Tillis dodged. He pivoted to say private industry ought to answer the question. ‘I think for the most part the market needs to define that,’ he answered. ‘When we create artificial thresholds then you run into a big problem. And I think we need to know that a segment of the population relies on minimum wage, but there are a lot of jobs that go beyond the minimum wage.’” [Under The Dome, 2/26/14]

Tillis Was Asked About Eliminating The Federal Minimum Wage Entirely, And Said That He Would “Consider Anything That Frees Up The Market To Create More Jobs.” According to McClatchy, “Asked if the minimum wage should be done away with, Tillis replied: ‘Yeah, I think you should consider anything that frees up the market to create more jobs, but the reality is you can’t un-ring that bell, and you have to look at whether it creates destabilization in a market that’s already destabilized.’ His spokesman, Jordan Shaw, said Tillis wants the wage to stay at $7.25.” [McClatchy, 3/20/14]

Tillis Made Offensive Comments About Welfare Recipients

Video: Tillis Declared, “What We Have To Do Is Find A Way To Divide And Conquer The People Who Are On The Systems” By Convincing Some Recipients “To Look Down” On Other Recipients. During an event in Mars Hill for Madison County constituents,, Tillis said: “And you know that health and human services are sending checks to a woman who has chosen to have three or four kids out of wedlock, then at some point you need to say, first kid; we’ll give you a pass. Second, third, fourth kid, you’re on your own. And say, but what we have to do is find a way to divide and conquer the people who are on the systems.  We have to show respect for that woman that has Cerebral Palsy and had no choice in her condition, that needs help and we should help. And we need to get those folks to look down on those people who choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on government.” [Speaker Tillis at Mars Hill, 10/7/11]

  • Video: Tillis Argued That Some Recipients Of Government Assistance “Choose” To Get Into A Condition That Made Them Dependent Upon Government. During an event in Mars Hill for Madison County constituents, Tillissaid: “We have to show respect for that woman that has Cerebral Palsy and had no choice in her condition, that needs help and we should help. And we need to get those folks to look down at these people who choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on government and say at some point, you’re on your own. We may end of taking care of those babies, but we’re not taking care of you.” [Speaker Tillis at Mars Hill, 10/7/11]

Tillis Passed A Controversial Tax Package That Increased The Tax Burden On The Middle Class While Providing Enormous Tax Cuts To The Wealthy

Tillis Approved Tax Reform Package That Ended North Carolina’s Progressive Income Tax System. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “Who pays more and who pays less under a major tax bill exposed a sharp divide among lawmakers Tuesday, as the House and Senate voted mostly along party lines to give it preliminary approval. […] The House moved first to give the bill preliminary approval, cutting off debate after less than 30 minutes and voting 77-38 with two Democrats in favor. The Senate spent nearly an hour discussing the measure later in the day before voting straight party lines, 32-17. Both chambers will take final votes Wednesday, sending the measure this week to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk for his signature. Under House Bill 998, North Carolina’s personal and corporate income taxes would decrease to match the lowest rates of neighboring states, not counting Tennessee, which doesn’t have a personal income tax. The move shifts the state from a more progressive personal income tax in which higher-income earners pay a larger percentage to a flat 5.75 percent rate in 2015. The corporate tax would fall from 6.9 percent to a 5 percent rate by the same year.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/16/13] 

  • Tax Reform Package Abolished Tiered Personal Income Tax System And Replaced It With A Single Flat Rate Of 5.75%. According to WRAL, “The measure replaces the three-tier personal income tax system with a flat tax of 5.8 percent in 2014, which drops to 5.75 percent in subsequent years. Standard deductions increase to $7,500 for single filers, $12,000 for heads of households and $15,000 for married couples.” [WRAL, 7/15/13]

Tax Reform Package Would Reduce State Revenue By $2 Billion Over 5 Years. According to WRAL, “Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said the bill would raise about $500 million less in revenue than the current system over the next two years. That cost would be $2 billion over five years, although Berger quibbled with the term “cost,” pointing out state government spending will still grow under the tax reform plan.” [WRAL, 7/15/13]

Tax Reform Package Slashed Corporate Taxes From 6.9% To 5%, With Potential Further Declines To 4% And 3% If Revenue Targets Are Met. According to WRAL, “The corporate tax rate will be cut from the current 6.9 percent to 5 percent by 2015. If North Carolina meets revenue targets in the coming years, officials said, the corporate rate will drop even further, to 4 percent in 2016 and 3 percent in 2017.” [WRAL, 7/15/13]

N.C. Budget And Tax Center On Tillis Tax Plan: “On Average, The Lower 80 Percent Of North Carolinians Will Pay More In Total State Taxes.” From an Associated Press fact check of the tax plan passed by Tillis and other Republicans in the state legislature and signed into law by McCrory: “An analysis by the left-leaning N.C. Budget and Tax Center concluded that, on average, the lower 80 percent of North Carolinians will pay more in total state taxes in 2014 than under the 2013 system.” [Fact Check, Associated Press, 12/30/13]

  • N.C. Budget And Tax Center: Compared To 2013 — When North Carolinians Benefited From The N.C. Earned Income Tax Credit — The Bottom 80% Of Taxpayers Would, On Average, See Higher Taxes. “The majority of taxpayers, on average, will see their taxes increase under the plan, contrary to the claim made by proponents that all taxpayers will get a tax cut. Wealthy individuals and profitable corporations will receive huge tax cuts. As such, the tax plan shifts more of the costs of paying for North Carolina’s schools and other public services to middle-class and low-income taxpayers, and away from the wealthy and corporations. The plan is particularly damaging to the finances of low-income families in North Carolina because it allows the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to expire at the end of 2013. This credit supplements income earned by low-wage workers and is one of North Carolina’s most effective tools for fighting poverty. Accounting for the expiration of the state EITC, the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers, on average, will see their taxes increase under the tax plan compared to current tax law.” [Budget & Tax Center, “Final Tax Plan Falls Short Of True Reform,”August 2013]

Tillis Backed A Restrictive Voter ID Bill That Disenfranchised Thousands Of Citizens And Made It Harder For People To Vote

Tillis Backed Voter ID Law Requiring Voters To Produce Photo ID, Such As A Driver’s License, At Polling Places Before Voting. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “House Republicans announced plans Tuesday to begin moving the politically divisive voter photo ID bill through the legislature, saying they would slow walk it to give all parties the opportunity to comment. GOP lawmakers, who have enough votes to pass the measure, disclosed a schedule that will begin with a public hearing on March 12 followed by two House committee meetings in which expert testimony will be heard. The bill will likely be introduced in late March and voted on by the House in mid-April. “We are going to go through a very deliberative, response-full and interactive approach through public hearings so that we arrive at a policy that is fair and that takes into account legitimate reasons why voters may not have an ID and puts into effect a way in which those IDs can be issued,”Tillis said at a news conference attended by about 30 GOP House members. Tillis said the measure – which would require voters to produce a photo identification such as a driver’s license when they go to the polls – had the support of nearly three-fourths of Tar Heel voters, according to polls. [Raleigh News & Observer, 3/5/13

Tillis Said That Climate Change Was Not Proven Fact

In First GOP Debate, Tillis Said That Climate Change Was Not A Proven Fact. According to Talking Points Memo, “Fittingly, all four Republican candidates in the North Carolina Senate race were asked on Earth Day if they believed climate change is a proven fact. And all four candidates said ‘no.’ The question was asked during a GOP primary debate on Tuesdaynight. The candidates, House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rev. Mark Harris, Dr. Greg Brannon, and nursing practitioner Heather Grant, in response to the question, said ‘no.’” [Talking Points Memo, 4/22/14]

Thom Tillis: The Ethically-Challenged Politician

Tillis Super-PAC Received Large Campaign Contributions From Three Donors Who Were Appointed To The UNC Board Of Governors By Tillis-Led House Of Representatives

Tillis’ Super-PAC Raised $70,000 From Three Donors Who Were Appointed By The Tillis-Led House Of Representatives To The University Of North Carolina Board Of Governors. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “A super PAC for House Speaker Thom Tillis recently raised $105,000 from five donors for his U.S. Senate race, including $70,000 from three men the House appointed to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. The contributions raise more questions about whether donations to the Republican candidate’s bid are connected to legislation in the chamber he controls. They also highlight Tillis’ ability to raise money when other lawmakers are limited in soliciting campaign contributions.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/17/13] 

  • Tillis Backed Democrat For UNC Board Of Governors Because He Had Raised Over $100,000 In Campaign Contributions In Support Of Tillis And His Allies. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “When his fellow Republicans questioned why House Speaker Thom Tillis backed a Democrat to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in March, the speaker had a simple reason: R. Doyle Parrish had raised a lot of money. ‘I would estimate he is directly responsible for more than $100,000.00 in financial support through personal contributions to my campaign committee and other candidates and through the Hospitality Alliance,’ Tillis wrote in a March 21 email to House leaders.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/26/13]

  • Tillis Credited Democrat – A Hotel Executive – With Raising Campaign Contributions Through Personal Contributions To Tillis And Through The “Hospitality Alliance,” A Nonprofit Trade Association For Hotels.According to the Raleigh News & Observer, ““When his fellow Republicans questioned why House Speaker Thom Tillisbacked a Democrat to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in March, the speaker had a simple reason: R. Doyle Parrish had raised a lot of money. ‘I would estimate he is directly responsible for more than $100,000.00 in financial support through personal contributions to my campaign committee and other candidates and through the Hospitality Alliance,’ Tillis wrote in a March 21 email to House leaders. […] Parrish, of Raleigh, is the president of Summit Hospitality Group, which manages 13 Marriott and Hilton hotels as well as the Dunhill Hotel in Uptown Charlotte. According to his company website, Parrish sits on the board of the Hospitality Alliance of North Carolina, a nonprofit trade association for hotels. Parrish could not be reached for comment.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/26/13]

  • Tillis Defended Democrat From Criticism Among Republican House Members By Touting His “Open And Substantial Support” For Tillis And The NC Republican Party, But Never Mentioned His Positions On Education.According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “In reporting the results, The News & Observer noted that Parrish was the only Democrat elected by either chamber. Some House Republicans complained that they had unwittingly voted for a Democrat. After reading the N&O report, Tillis responded with the email to his leadership team. He said he was embarrassed that he had led the caucus to believe Parrish was a Republican and that he did not know Parrish’s party affiliation. Tillis said he would have still sponsored him regardless. ‘I intend to publicly apologize to the caucus on Tuesday,’ he wrote. ‘If the caucus feels strongly and is willing to assert their will through a voted caucus position, I will ask Doyle to resign his position if you all agree that is the best course.’ In defending Parrish, Tillis referred to Parrish’s “open and substantial support in 2010” and the $100,000 he raised. ‘… He has been a strong supporter since the first time we met when it was not certain that we would win a majority,’ Tillis wrote. ‘He has personally sponsored events for me and/or the caucus in Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington.’ The email went on to discuss the conservative politics of Parrish’s wife, a Republican. It does not say anything about Parrish’s positions on higher education.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/26/13]

  • Tillis Backed Campaign Supporter For UNC Board Of Governors Despite The Fact That The Donor Lived In South Carolina. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “Tillis also strongly supported G.A. Sywassink for the board, even after the Republican caucus rejected Sywassink because he lives in South Carolina. The House narrowly elected Sywassink after Tillis circulated a list of his preferred candidates that included Sywassink. Sywassink, owner of a Charlotte freight company, had given $7,500 to Tillis’ campaign for the state House. In June, Sywassink gave $25,000 and Parrish gave $20,000 to the super PAC supporting Tillis’ bid for the U.S. Senate next year. Tillis was not available for comment Friday, an aide said.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/26/13]

Tillis Employed Two Staff Members Who Resigned After Revelations Of Inappropriate Romantic Relationships With Lobbyists – Gave Both Of Them Generous Severance Pay Packages

Tillis’ Former Chief Of Staff Had An Extramarital Affair With Lobbyist. “Tillis’s former Chief of Staff Charles Thomas left the office at the end of April, after a videotape by a private investigator showed him in a romantic relationship with Jessi Hayes, a lobbyist for the NC Home Builders Association. Both Thomas and Hayes are married, and both were left jobless by the scandal.” [WRAL,5/18/12]

Tillis’ Former Policy Advisor Had An Affair With A Lobbyist Who Was Married. “Less than a week later, Tillis’s former policy advisor Amy Hobbs also left the office after the same videotape exposed her relationship with lobbyist Dean Plunkett. Plunkett is also married. Tillis says Hobbs is a ‘single mother.’” [WRAL, 5/18/12]

Daily Courier Editorial: Members Of Tillis’ Staff Resigned Because They Had “Inappropriate Relationships With Lobbyists.” According to an editorial in the Daily Courier, “On the heels of resignations inside the office of House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Legislative Ethics Committee started issuing new guidelines against ‘inappropriate and unethical behavior’ with regards to Legislative employees and lobbyists. In April, Tillis chief of staff Charles Thomas and policy adviser Amy Hobbs resigned after Tillis said the pair had inappropriate relationships with lobbyists. Unfortunately, it took an instance like those two to bring about a rule regarding ethics, conduct and behavior in the General Assembly. The policy that was initially reported on Monday, said that a ‘legislative employee who serves at the will of a lawmakers should not have a dating relationship or sexual relations with a registered lobbyist.’ The policy also extends to having those same relations with a state agency liaison, unless the relationship is disclosed to the legislator.” [Editorial: Daily Courier, 9/25/12]

  • Hobbs Was Forced To Resign After Admitting To An Inappropriate Relationship With A Lobbyist While Working For Tillis. According to WGHP, “N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis said Tuesday that a second person on his staff has been forced to resign after having an inappropriate relationship with a lobbyist. Amy Hobbs, a policy adviser to Tillis, confirmed to The Associated Press that she offered her resignation Sunday — three days after chief of staff Charles Thomas resigned when a newspaper questioned him about a relationship with a lobbyist for the state’s residential home building industry.” [WGHP, 5/2/12]
  • Thomas Was Forced To Resign From His Chief Of Staff Position After It Was Revealed That He Had An Inappropriate Relationship With A Lobbyist. According to the News & Observer, “The chief of staff to state House Speaker Thom Tillis has been in an intimate relationship with a lobbyist for the North Carolina Home Builders Association, a special interest group that often seeks help from the legislature and provides money to political campaigns across the state. Charles Thomas, Tillis’ chief of staff, resigned Thursday evening after being questioned about the relationship by The News & Observer.” [News & Observer, 4/27/12]

Both Staffers Were Given Thousands Of Dollars In Severance Pay

Thomas Was Paid $12,500 With The Listed Purpose “Pay In Lieu Of Notice.” According to the News & Observer, “Records show that Tillis’ former chief of staff, Charles Thomas, was paid $12,500 with a listed purpose of ‘pay in lieu of notice.’ His annual salary was $150,000.” [News & Observer, 5/17/12]

Hobbs Received $6,833.33 For The Same Reason As Thomas, “Pay In Lieu Of Notice.” According to the News & Observer, “Tillis’ former policy adviser, Amy Hobbs, received $6,833.33 for the same purpose, according to records. Her annual salary was $82,000.” [News & Observer, 5/17/12]

Politifact: At The Time, Tillis “Did Not Claim That He Had Fired The Staffers — Only Accepted Their Resignations.” “In defending his decision to pay staffers, Tillis said, ‘I stand by my decision to accept their resignation while recognizing the difficult transition period they are now entering.’ In other words, Tillis at the time did not claim that he had fired the staffers — only accepted their resignations. This supports the pro-Democratic ad, and clashes with what Tillis’ 2014 ad claims.” [Politifact,4/25/14]

Charlotte Observer Editorial On Tillis’ Claims He Fired Two Staffers Caught Having Inappropriate Relationships With Lobbyists: “Is This The Kind Of Twisting And Spinning North Carolinians Could Expect From A Sen. Thom Tillis?” “A top Democratic super PAC launched an ad against Tillis, attacking him over $19,000 in severance pay he awarded to two of his legislative staffers when they resigned in 2012 over inappropriate relationships with lobbyists. […] He launched an ad in response that says: ‘Seen those ads attacking Thom Tillis? They’re false. Tillis fired the staffers.’ Uh-oh. The employees and Tillis himself said at the time they were resigning. News coverage repeatedly referred to the staffers’ resignations, not firings. ‘Tillis has repeatedly described the departures of both staffers as resignations offered by the employees that he accepted,’ a story in the (Raleigh) News & Observer said on May 17, 2012. Tillis defended the severance payments as part of the ‘human side’ of ending work. ‘Asked why employees who resigned would receive a month of additional pay, Tillis said: “I would hope people would think of these two who were in devastating personal situations,”’ the N&O reported then. Now he says he fired them. Is this the kind of twisting and spinning North Carolinians could expect from a Sen. Thom Tillis?” [Editorial, Charlotte Observer,4/20/14]

  • Charlotte Observer Editorial Headline: “Tillis Seeks To Rewrite History” [Editorial, Charlotte Observer, 4/20/14]

Tillis Fundraised for Senate Campaign During 2013 State Legislative Session

Tillis Was “Prohibited Under State Law” From Raising Money From Lobbyists Or Companies With Business Before The Legislature While In Session, But The Prohibition Did Not Apply To His Senate Campaign. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “As a legislator, Tillis is prohibited under state law from raising money from lobbyists or companies and organizations with lobbyists during the lawmaking session. The ban, however, doesn’t apply to federal candidates – meaning Tillis can solicit U.S. Senate campaign cash even as he influences major state legislation, such as a tax overhaul, the state budget and industry regulations. As speaker, Tillis sets the House agenda, deciding in large part which bills live and which die.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 6/29/13]

Tillis Was “Raising Money From Donors Interested In Legislation,” While Serving As House Speaker. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “Tillis entered the race in May, vowing to stay focused on his job. But just weeks later, he finds himself pulled in competing directions and raising money from donors interested in legislation.” [Raleigh News & Observer,6/29/13]

Tillis Had Deep Ties To Washington

Karl Rove Headlined A Series Of Fundraisers For Tillis In November 2013. According to Under The Dome, “GOP strategist Karl Rove will headline a series of fundraising events for U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis in mid-November, an aide to the former Bush administration official confirmed to Dome. The details are still being finalized but Rove and Tillis are likely to hit events across the state, Tillis allies said. Next week, Tillis will attend a reception hosted by Rove’s political action committee, Crossroads GPS, which spent big money in the 2012 election. Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan used Rove as a foil in one of her recent fundraising pitches — showing Rove’s close link to Tillis may help both sides.” [Under The Dome,9/26/13]

Raleigh News & Observer Opinion: Tillis Attended An American Crossroads Fundraiser In Washington D.C. With Marco Rubio And Mitch McConnell. According to an opinion piece by Rob Christensen, in the Raleigh News & Observer, “Tillis was in Washington last week attending an American Crossroads Summit, rubbing elbows with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. American Crossroads, the super PAC formed by Rove, spent $105 million in independent expenditures in the last election cycle, and its sister organization Crossroads GPS spent $70.8 million, so Rove still has some juice.” [Opinion – Raleigh News & Observer, 10/5/13]

Mitt Romney Endorsed Tillis, Tillis Said That It Was A “Humbling Privilege” To Get Romney Endorsement. According to a press release by Thom Tillis for U.S. Senate, “Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney today endorsed ThomTillis, conservative candidate for the United States Senate and current North Carolina House Speaker. Romney is the latest in a string of endorsements for Tillis in the closing days of the Republican primary in North Carolina. ‘I am proud to support Thom Tillis for US Senate. Now more than ever, Americans need problem-solvers in Washington, DC. Thom is a conservative who has been solving problems in North Carolina as Speaker of the House and I am confident he will do the same in Washington. I am convinced by his record of conservative results that he is the right candidate to help Republicans win a majority in the US Senate in 2014. I urge North Carolinians to support Thom Tillis on May 6th.’ […] ‘I consider it a humbling privilege to have earned the endorsement of Mitt Romney,’ Tillis said. ‘His contributions to our nation and our party are unmatched. I have deep respect for Gov. Romney’s devotion to his faith, his family, and the conservative principles he espouses. I am eager to work with him as we strive to win a conservative majority in the US Senate.’” [Press Release – Thom Tillis for U.S. Senate, 5/5/14]

Tillis Was Endorsed By Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. According to a press release by Thom Tillis For U.S. Senate, “Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush today endorsed Thom Tillis, conservative candidate for the United States Senate and current North Carolina House Speaker. ‘Thom Tillis is a proven conservative leader with an impressive track record of results for North Carolina businesses and families,’ said Governor Bush. ‘His work on key issues like improving education, keeping taxes low and eliminating burdensome regulations is a testament to his leadership as North Carolina’s House Speaker. It is critically important that Republicans win a majority in the U.S. Senate, and I am confident that the road to a majority runs through Thom Tillis in North Carolina.’” [Press Release – Thom Tillis for U.S. Senate, 5/1/14]