Under the Dome

Morning Memo: Tillis headed to D.C. fundraisers

With the legislative session ended, House Speaker Thom Tillis can focus on raising money for his U.S. Senate campaign. And today he does just that with back-to-back fundraisers at the homes of some well-connected D.C. lobbyists.
Meanwhile Reid Wilson, editor of the National Journal Hotline, a campaign tipsheet, writes about "The Trouble with Tillis" and points out that he may not be the candidate the Republicans need to beat Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. Tillis' trouble? The super PAC funded by donors he nominated — and persuaded House members — to elect to the UNC board. Wilson also says the abortion and voting bills lawmakers passed this year will give Hagan valuable opportunities. Good Tuesday morning and welcome to Dome's Morning Memo.

Those two Tillis fundraisers are both on Capitol Hill. The first, hosted by Richard Murphy and Missy Edwards, is labeled a "meet and greet." The second, a reception at the home of Geoffrey P. Gray, costs $500 per person, $1,000 per PAC or — at the host level — $1,000 per person, $2,500 per PAC. Murphy is a lobbyist who has worked for tobacco, defense and telecommunications companies among others. Edwards has lobbied for energy and banking interests. And Gray's lobbying includes banking and housing interests.

WHERE'S PAT?The governor plans to visit Catawba and Lincoln counties this afternoon with DOT head Tony Tata to assess storm damage in those areas. He'll then head to Randleman to attend NASCARnival Night at Victory Junction. The governor, by the way, has about 40 more bills on his desk awaiting action after having had a very busy day on Monday.

VIGIL UNDAUNTED: McCrory signed 18 bills Monday, including two of the more controversial: SB 353 which calls for new regulations for abortion clinics and HB 937 which expands the places people can carry a concealed weapon. Planned Parenthood plans to continue a vigil outside the Governor's Mansion today to call attention to what they say is a broken campaign promise from the governor. McCrory has said the abortion bill is about raising safety standards and that he has kept his promise. Full story.

TAKING IT TO THE STREETS: Moral Monday ended with a bang as thousands marched through downtown Raleigh to protest the GOP policies. The NCAE brought busloads of teachers to the protest, which will be the last in Raleigh now that the the legislature is gone. Instead Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, said the protests will go on the road, hitting all 13 of the state's congressional districts. Next Monday's will be in Asheville. Full story.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: The NC Auditor's office said the state Department of Commerce did a poor job of following up on $20 million in job-creatio grants in 2010. The audit said the agency should have used onsite visits to confirm companies had met their requirements. Commerce relies on withholding records from the Department of Revenue. Full story.

FROZEN ASSETS: Billy Ray Hall, former head of the NC Rural Economic Development Center, will not be getting $241,000 severance after all. The directors of the nonprofit, which is funded by state tax revenue, voted to freeze his severance payment on Monday pending more information. Hall stepped down this month after a state audit called his $221,000 annual salary unreasonable and said the agency did not adequately oversee the state funds it receives. Full story.

OUT OF GAS: The Biofuels Center of North Carolina, which lost its $43. million in funding in the state budget, said on Monday that it has begun winding down its operations and will close by Oct. 31. Its 14 employees will be without a job within 90 days. They will not receive severance. The organization, based in Oxford, was created to help the state develop biofuels made from energy crops other than corn.

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