Governor McCrory has never shied away from appointing his political funders to top positions. Early cabinet members Art Pope and Aldona Wos can take more credit than most for helping Republicans, including McCrory, seize control to the state government. And now one of McCrory's three picks for the state Board of Agriculture—all of whom were confirmed by the Senate last week—follows the trend.
Anne Faircloth, the daughter of former hog farmer and U.S. senator Lauch Faircloth, was nominated to serve as a farming representative on the eleven-member board, a body that meets four times a year to set policies regarding agriculture regulations and the State Fair.
Faircloth has been involved in farming for years as a pork producer in Sampson County, like her father before her. She was also recently named Business Person of the Year by the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce.
But she might be better known in political circles for her extensive donations over the last several years, mostly to Republicans, including McCrory and Senator Brent Jackson, the legislator who formally nominated her for the agriculture board.
Records show that Faircloth has donated to McCrory eight times in his three gubernatorial runs, totaling $18,000; last year, Faircloth twice gave $2,500 to McCrory's re-election campaign.
Likewise, over the past six years, Faircloth has donated to Jackson's campaigns eleven times for a total of $10,000. In total, Faircloth has given at least $52,300 to North Carolina candidates since 2003, more than anyone currently serving on the Board of Agriculture.
And now Faircloth will serve on the body that helps set the policies that govern her industry. But there's no cause for concern, says N.C. Department of Agriculture public affairs director Brian Long: board members must "avoid conflicts of interests and appearance of conflicts of interests" by "refrain[ing] from inappropriate action under that agenda item." To keep this fresh in their minds, an ethics reminder is read at the beginning of every meeting.
Faircloth did not respond to the INDY's request for comment.