So that the public doesn’t have to wait 16 months to see Gov. Pat McCrory’s travel records—and dear Citizen, you’re entitled to these documents as much as the media is—we’re providing the them, exactly as received them on March 13.
As the INDY reported this week it is our opinion that Gov. Pat McCrory’s office, according to a reading of the law, violated the state’s Open Records Act in failing to provide travel records to the INDY as promptly as possible.
Not only did we have to wait 16 months for six months’ worth of records—and we had asked for more, but McCrory’s office asked us to narrow the time frame&but Josh Ellis, communications director for McCrory, failed to give us all of the information we requested.
We don’t know why McCrory went to Tampa in March 2014; the information is redacted on the governor’s daily calendar (Part 1, pages 10-12). Ditto for his sojourn to Augusta, Ga., (Part 1, page 15) although we know the guv loves golf, and the Master’s were held during the days he was in that town.
Some initial observations about the records:
- There were other redactions, without explanation on April 25, May 19, June 11, July 10 and Aug. 19. (Part 1, pages 18, 20 1, 2 and 6).
- The charter plane he travels on costs $560 an hour. He often flies in and out of both RDU and Concord, which is near Charlotte.
- His staff expenses, not including security, totaled upward of $2,500 for the six-month period. We’re still doing the math on all the cab rides. Ellis occasionally traveled with governor.
- On May 20 at 5 p.m., his calendar reads “public records update. Thomas will call gov directly.” Thomas could be the governor’s chief of staff, Thomas Stith, who once ran for mayor of Durham. We wonder what that phone conversation entailed? What was the update? “Don’t fill any stinking open records requests”?
- And we had to chuckle about a panel listed on McCrory’s calendar for Sept. 22, during the GOP Governors’ Corporate Policy Summit: “Overcoming Federal Overreach to Preserve a Diverse Energy Portfolio.”
That’s no surprise: McCrory, a former Duke Energy executive, has long promoted offshore drilling; he is chairman of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors’ Coalition