The N.C. GOP has joined the fray over State Auditor Les Merritt's public service announcements that tell people to report fraud, waste and abuse of state resources to his office's hotline.
State Republican leaders dismissed their Democratic counterparts' claims that the ads promote Merritt's campaign, reports Dan Kane.
Merritt does not appear in the two TV ads, which began running this week. But state Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Meek said the auditor is promoting his re-election by using the phrase "The Taxpayers' Watchdog." That's how Merritt has referred to himself on the campaign trail.
Chris McClure, the NCGOP's chief of staff, notes that Meek, in an unrelated news release, used that same phrase to identify Merritt's predecessor, Ralph Campbell.
"I am honored that Ralph Campbell has agreed to serve as Treasurer of the North Carolina Democratic Party," Meek said in the release. "As State Auditor, Ralph Campbell served as the taxpayers' watchdog and developed a reputation for his fairness, accountability and integrity."
McClure said Meek's actions this week amount to "rank hypocrisy."
"To call Jerry Meek's attacks on Les Merritt duplicitous would be too kind," McClure said in a news release. "Meek is still chewing sour grapes because Les Merritt won election to the State Auditor's office three years ago."
He also noted that lawmakers passed a law preventing public officials from appearing in public service announcements after complaints regarding appearances by Gov. Mike Easley, Attorney General Roy Cooper and State Treasurer Richard Moore, all Democrats.