RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Fallout from the North Carolina House budget override continues months later, as a conservative group is now raising legal concerns over Democrats’ actions.
It dates back to September 11, when Democrats say they were blindsided by a vote on the budget when many of them were absent. New Hanover County Representative Deb Butler made national headlines that day, when she accused Republican House Speaker Tim Moore of deceiving Democrats. She says he called for a vote on the state budget while a majority of democrats were absent.
“Your leadership is an embarrassment to the history of this great state!” Butler could be heard shouting at Moore. “We have been here day and night for months defending what we believe.”
Donald Bryson, president of conservative think tank Civitas Institute, says something Butler said during her outcry raised concerns.
“We’re downstairs right now trying to redraw partisan-heavy maps because of your thumb on the scale,” Butler had said.
Bryson says such a meeting would have been in violation of a court order.
“The redistricting meeting wasn’t going to be for another hour and a half, and was actually upstairs, not downstairs, and was in another building entirely,” Bryson said.
Rep. Butler now says she misspoke and was actually referring to the redistricting committee.
“There was absolutely no other clandestine meeting of any kind,” Butler said.
In a news release, Civitas said it sent public records requests to 38 legislators on September 13 for copies of their calendars from that day. Bryson says five months later, Civitas has received nothing.
“My initial thought when she said that was that she misspoke, but the longer it’s gone on, it insinuates to me that they are trying to keep something from being in the public eye,” Bryson said.
After WWAY reached out to her, Rep. Butler went so far as to post her personal calendar from that day on Twitter. However, Bryson says there are still unanswered questions.
“That doesn’t tell us what was going on with 38 other house democrats,” Bryson said.
Bryson says representatives are breaking the law by not providing copies of their calendars. Rep. Butler says she doesn’t believe they are subject to these types of requests.