UPDATED: Republican budget writers targeted a high-ranking commerce official by eliminating his job in the state budget draft.
Henry McKoy Jr., the assistant secretary for community assistance, faced tough questions earlier this year after reports about whether he properly disclosed his association with a dormant nonprofit where he was once a board member. Top commerce department officials renamed the nonprofit and repurposed it for a sustainability project designed to receive state funds.
A conservative publication, Carolina Journal Online, a website affiliated with the conservative John Locke Foundation, suggested in a report that McKoy stood to financially gain from the project, a claim denied by McKoy and commerce officials because he was no longer affiliated with the nonprofit.
But as a News & Observer report noted, McKoy and Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco, an interim board member at the nonprofit Sustainability Center, failed to disclose their ties as legally required on a state economic interest form.
The department launched an internal investigation. Commerce spokesman Tim Crowley said Thursday McKoy, Crisco and others associated with the project filed revised SEI forms with the State Ethics Commission to comply with the law. Any other disciplinary action taken is not public record, Crowley said.
As for the state budget language eliminating McKoy's job, Crowley said it came as a complete surprise when the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural and Economic Resources met Thursday morning. The House budget would consolidate the job under the assistant secretary of energy position, saving $130,000.
Crowley said the two positions wouldn't merge well because they cover different territory. He said the position facilitates local communities, particularly low-income areas, and serves a critical role.
The Republicans who run the subcommittee could not be reached for comment.