UPDATE: The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the N.C. Board of Elections has also dismissed Turner’s complaint in this case. Click over to read the story. Here’s Moffitt’s full statement:
Raleigh, NC — The North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBOE) yesterday cleared Representative Tim Moffitt, finding no evidence that the two-term Buncombe County legislator violated any laws or acted in any way improperly. It is the second such vindication by a state-level agency in as many months.
The SBOE had investigated a claim by Biltmore Forest resident Brian Turner — who is supported by members of Asheville City Council, including Councilman Cecil Bothwell — to unseat Moffitt. But, in a devastating rebuke of Turner, the Board said that Turner’s unsubstantiated allegations, “even when viewed in a light most favorable to [Turner’s] point of view” did nothing to suggest that Moffitt did anything wrong.
“The downtown Asheville crowd is desperate to get me out of office,” said
Representative Moffitt. “But this type of underhanded and deceitful behavior needs to stop. It takes time, energy and resources to deal with this kind of thing. It is a clear abuse of process for political purposes. If Mr. Turner wants to oppose me politically, he needs to use his campaign dollars — and not the taxpayers’.”
In March, Turner was advised by SBOE officials that his complaint would not be received favorably due to the lack of evidence supporting the allegations. Turner agreed and chose not to pursue a course of action at the time, later reversing himself when pressed on the matter by the media. In the days that followed, it was then revealed that Turner, possibly in an attempt to influence the testimony of a witness, recorded a telephone conversation with county commissioner David King without his knowledge. During that conversation, Turner admitted that making the allegations against Moffitt would be “advantageous to me in my campaign”.
“If Brian Turner is willing to secretly record telephone conversations of people he describes as ‘friends’ while he’s a candidate,” Moffitt concluded, “how can he be trusted to act honorably in office?”
Representative Moffitt has turned the matter over to his legal team to review what avenues may now be available to him. Such avenues could possibly include legal action for slander, libel, and abuse of process.
Original post May 19, 2014: The N.C. Ethics Commission has dismissed a complaint against N.C. Rep. Tim Moffitt filed by his 2014 election opponent, Brian Turner. First-time candidate Turner, a Democrat, is challenging two-term Republican Moffitt in Buncombe County’s House District 116 election. Ashvegas reported details here of a conversation between Turner and Moffitt, a conversation in which Turner said Moffitt asked him to withdraw from the race. That conversation led Turner to file complaints with both the state ethics commission and the N.C. Board of Elections.
Here’s the May 13 press release from Moffitt’s office:
RALEIGH, NC — On Friday, the State Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint against Representative Tim Moffitt for lack of merit.
A complaint filed in March by Brian Turner alleges that Turner was threatened, bribed and bullied at a February 24 lunch meeting that Turner initiated with Representative Moffitt. After an exhaustive two month investigation, involving interviews with all witnesses and the review of numerous inconsistent statements by Turner, the eight-member ethics panel found Turner’s allegations to be entirely without any factual basis and ruled in favor of Moffitt.
“I knew the charges to be untrue when the complaint was filed against me in March,” said Representative Moffitt. “When you’re a Republican in elected office, it seems that such attacks are just part of the job. You have to have a thick skin. But it’s been very tough on my family.”
Turner, a resident of the exclusive Biltmore Forest community, is searching for ways to unseat Moffitt from the state House. Tim Moffitt is serving his second term representing the southern and western portions of Buncombe County.
Representative Moffitt has declined to do any fundraising or campaigning since the charges were filed, but has continued to maintain a busy legislative schedule in
Raleigh. “I didn’t feel right asking people to support my campaign while my opponent was making allegations attacking my character and integrity,” Representative Moffitt continued. “I chose not to politicize the matter out of respect for the process. Unfortunately, my opponent decided from the very beginning to take the opposite route — and sadly, he’s used these false allegations to create support and raise money.”
Turner, who personally spread the false allegations at political party meetings earlier this year, was initially hesitant to confirm the allegations to the press and stated he would not initiate a complaint. Turner later reversed himself when a local radio personality called into question the truthfulness of his claims.
Audio of a telephone conversation that Turner secretly recorded across state lines with Buncombe County Commissioner David King later surfaced in which Turner admitted that making these allegations would “be advantageous to me in my campaign.”
“It’s disappointing that my opponent participated in conduct like this,” concluded Representative Moffitt. “It shows how desperate Mr. Turner is to get into office.
Slander, libel, abuse of process — politics as usual in this area.”
The Ethics Commission is an independent, eight-member quasi-judicial panel that oversees the administration of the State Government Ethics Act. Four of the eight voting members of the commission were appointed by Democrats, four by Republicans.
Tim Peck the first comment on a Moffitt blog posting?! What?! You’re not swaying anyone that reads this blog, Peck. Most of Moffitt’s supporters probably don’t read blogs anyway. Too liberal! You’d be better off handing out Moffitt flyers at Wal-Mart.
I think we’ve all been assuming that he gets paid by the comment.
State Board of Elections clears Moffitt
Posted on July 1, 2014 by Jake Frankel
Here’s the press release from Rep. Tim Moffitt and the complete text of the letter from the State Board of Elections:
The BOE can’t “clear” Rep. Moffitt of what we already know – he’s a bully and will lie to cover it up when he’s called on it. That’s what he has done in the past, and we all know that’s what happened here as well.
Brian Turner may have been politically naive to have filed this complaint, thinking that the truth always prevails. But if that’s the worst thing you can say about the guy, I wish we had more like him.
More posturing by the “victim” in all this, Rep. Tim Moffitt. There was no “vindication” for Moffitt, Turner was not “rebuked”. The BOE just repeated that Turner had no ironclad proof – it was his word against Moffitt’s, and his Buncombe GOP subordinate, David King (who was caught covering for Moffitt on at least one other occasion – the CRA debacle).
We all know that the record is clear – Rep. Moffitt is a bully, and he thinks he is line for the Speakers Gavel. Brian Turner is a credible candidate, so much so that Moffitt’s dreams of succeeding Thom Tillis have vanished – he’s in a desperate fight simply to keep his district seat. So yes, I believe Brian Turner that Rep. Moffitt crossed the line into bribes and threats, in order to deny his constituents a choice in November.
That’s the real arrogance in this saga – Tim Moffitt tried to get his opponent to drop out because he doesn’t care about the voters in the district. He’s destined for greatness and can’t be bothered to defend his seat back home.
Turner is a weak candidate off to an embarrassing start. The election will be a landslide.
It seems that this group is genuinely bi-partisan, so their unanimous decision to dismiss Turner’s complaint is quite damning.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Jason published the statement from Moffit’s office. You can tell it is not bi-partisan summation of the situation. Why are they emphasizing Turner’s home in “Exclusive” Biltmore Forest? Why are there no statements from Turner? Why does Moffit look so innocent and pure? This slanted view leads me to wonder if it was indeed an ‘exhaustive’ investigation.
Not saying Turning couldn’t possibly be lying or stretching the truth for political gain, but I really hate reading Moffit’s “I’m such a victim, I’d never stoop to this level” attitude.
It’s not damning at all. Rep. Moffitt was not found “innocent”, and he was not “exonerated”. The dismissal simply reflects that there wasn’t any independent proof of what happened – it was Turner’s word against Rep. Moffitt’s. So, we judge for ourselves based on what we know of them.
Of the two of them, who admits that he tried to deny the voters in his district a choice in November? Who admits that it was more important to him to satisfy his ego & try for the Speakers gavel in Raleigh rather than have to campaign back here in the sticks? Who admits that he brought up the possibility of running UNC-TV in front of his opponent, and suggested that he screw his donors, supporters, and party in order to pursue this selfish gain? And most importantly, who has a documented record of bullying and then lying to cover it up?
I don’t need an “Ethics Commission” to tell me what I already know.
That’s another reason why it sucks to read about this from Moffit’s Camp’s point of view. From reading the above blog post, it really makes it seem like the whole commission decided it was bunk. But if I understand you right, Barry, they merely deemed it ‘unprovable’. That’s a big difference.
The official statement from the Ethics Commission (which is not included in this rant from Rep. Moffitt) only says that they did not find “probable cause” that he broke the law. He wasn’t “cleared” of the charges, by any stretch – they just determined there wasn’t evidence beyond Turner’s statement.
Your whining reeks of sour grapes.
When Turner filed the complaint, no one said “oh, this is fruitless! That Board is GOP dominated! Woe is us for there shall be no justice from that GOP dominated board!”
No, everyone said Moffit was going down. Claiming it’s a biased board only after the fact shows a desperation to retroactively explain why the unexplainable happened.
Next, let’s look at this in context of criminal trials. Defendants are never cleared or proclaimed innocent, they are found “not guilty”. The only thing better than a not guilty verdict is when the DA finds there is no probable cause to prosecute, because that means they won’t even be taken to trial to be found not guilty.
Based on your warped logic, anyone ever charged with a criminal offense is really guilty, there just wasn’t enough evidence to convict.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, Barry.
Your anonymous spinning reeks of yet another paid commentor.
It may not have been smart to file the complaint in the first place, but if the worst thing you can say about Turner is that he’s honest but politically naive, I’ll still take that over the current alternative.
Rep. Moffitt was not even remotely declared “not guilty”. The commission operates differently from a criminal court – they did in fact conduct an investigation. If there weren’t any evidence, they could have dismissed the complaint without even doing that much. They use “probable cause” in a different sense – they said there was not enough to prove that Moffitt violated the law.
I know, the paid & unpaid spinners will continue to try to claim this as “exoneration”, but it simply isn’t.
Rep. Tim “I was just joking, now that I see that somebody videotaped my previously serious bullying statement” Moffitt has been caught in this behavior over & over, and the voters know it.
“If there weren’t any evidence, they could have dismissed the complaint without even doing that much.”
Gee whiz, I’m sorry you got it wrong again, Barry. You are practically plagued.
You see, the commission conducted an investigation not because they suspected Moffitt was guilty, but because the complaint contained very serious charges against a sitting legislator and “covered member.”
Contrary to your assertion, the commission could not simply dismiss the complaint summarily. It is their obligation under the law to fully review these cases; including interviewing witnesses, like Turner himself, where he denied his initial claim to their faces.
The dismissal, included above, was made after a months-long thorough-going process and was simple thrown out as being fruitless.
The only thing that saves Turner from the consequences of filing a fraudulent complaint is that revealing that fact was not the commission’s charge. They are charged with reviewing complaint’s against covered persons, which they did in this case. The burden falls to other parties to charge Turner with a violation of public justice — a Class F Felony.
I’m sure Turner’s attorney will know what to do — if he’s still around.
Contrary to your assertion, the commission could not simply dismiss the complaint summarily.
From the dismissal letter:
“Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 138A-12(d) and (f), on March 27, 2014, a Preliminary Inquiry Panel considered the results of the preliminary inquiry and determined to proceed with further inquiry regarding the allegations of the complaint.”
They clearly could have dismissed it at that point, yet chose not to.
Calling Turner’s complaint “fraudulent”, and accusing him of committing a felony… I hope you have a good lawyer, too, Mouthpiece. Claiming that you were only following orders won’t help you.
Brian Turner’s first act as candidate for the legislature is to deceive the public and lie to the Ethics Commission for pure political gain.
Mr. Turner said in his ethics complaint, which was thrown out unanimously:
“I believe Mr. Moffit’s (sic) offer of employment at UNC-TV in exchange for withdrawing from the race is in direct violation of the following statutes: 163-274(a)(9)” etc. (Ethics Complaint, pg. 2)
“I hereby swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury and other penalties established by North Carolina law, that the information provided in this complaint is true, correct, complete, and of my own personal knowledge” [NOTARIZED] (Ethics Complaint, pg. 3)
But later in his sworn testimony to the Ethics Commission, Mr. Turner denies any explicit job offer:
“Complainant (Turner) stated that Repondent (Moffit) did not directly state that he would obtain or attempt to obtain a job with UNC-TV for Complainant if he withdrew from the race.” (Dismissal, para. 10)
So we have Moffitt, King AND Turner denying the main charge in Turner’s own ethics complaint.
Having stepped in it with both feet, Mr Turner, in the AC-T article, goes on to maintain that his original allegation is true and makes additional allegations that Moffitt has “a history of inappropriate comments” and is engaged in an “attempt to corrupt the electoral process.”
This guy is a real piece of work.
The question the media, the public and Turner’s supporters should be considering now is, did Mr. Turner perjure himself. It’s a serious question since perjury is a violation of public justice and carries with it a penalty as a Class F Felony. Besides punishment as a felon, conviction would disqualify Mr. Turner from holding elective office.
So, Mr. Turner may have put himself out of the running with his own whining mouth. I can’t wait to see his next brilliant move.
DISMISSAL OF COMPLAINT:
KING’S SWORN STATEMENT:
Brian Turner secretly record a telephone conversation (across state lines) with Buncombe County Commissioner David King not bothering to tell Mr. King that he was being recorded?
Didn’t he tell Mr. King in that conversation that making these false allegations against Moffitt would “be advantageous to me in my campaign”?
PHONE CALL WITH DAVID KING:
PODCAST: A Shady Job Offer
PoliticsNC | May 13, 2014
Pete Kaliner Show with Brian Turner
Hour 2, March 12, 2014
Brian Turner, Democratic candidate for the NC House, says his opponent Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe) asked him to drop out of the race, offered a state-funded job to do so, and then said third party groups would “nuke” him and his family. http://www.wwnc.com/media/podcast-the-pete-kaliner-show-ThePeteKalinerShow/march-12-2014-hour-2-24468098/#ixzz32ApqBlVg
Brian Turner Interviewed by Jeff Messer on 880AM
Thursday, April 3rd 2014, 5:00PM
Add to this some observations from PoliticsNC:
“Now, Turner is the one in trouble. Voters might come to suspect that he made the whole thing up for political advantage, as Moffitt has maintained all along. Turner is a liar, the story becomes. The bottom line: if you’re going to pursue a claim against someone while running for office, make sure it has some merit, or it’s going to wind up backfiring.”
Is that the official position of the Tim Moffitt campaign, Mouthpiece?
Or is it yet another arms-length smear job on behalf of someone who’s demonstrably too much of a coward to say such things himself, and instead sends out a pack of flying monkeys to do his bidding?
I think Representative Moffitt said it just fine in his press release. Perhaps you didn’t notice him speaking his own words. It’s somewhere in this blog post, I think.
Meanwhile, your serious butt-hurt is showing. Along with Barry (Poor thing is embarrassing himself. Keep it up, dear. It’s hilarious.)
Keep it up, dear. It’s hilarious.
As always, thanks for the encouragement. Every bit of vitriol from by buddy confirms that I’m on the right track.
Oh, so you’re off the clock right now?
Please be sure to let us know your capacity every time you comment; we poor souls sometimes have trouble distinguishing your personal BS from your paid BS.
I can’t wait to see that smirk wiped off Tim Muppets’ face by a Turner victory in November… and Muppet will probably feel better once Art Poop, ALEC (and the other “special” interests) remove their hands from his ass.
VOTE for Brian Turner NC House District 116!
You’ll have to wait a while, Murphy. Rep. Moffitt won re-election handily in 2012, and back then he didn’t have a completely discredited lying momma’s boy to run against.
Perhaps Turner should try running in his district instead of in Asheville…No, that wouldn’t help either.
Turner is damaged goods and I’m sure the voters will know all about it in short order.
This, I’m sure, is going to be an easy one, despite what you might want to believe. Best of luck to you. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.
VOTE MOFFITT (like everyone else)
Do you live in Moffitt’s district, Tim?
Hahaha. Don’t hold your breath.
The Ethics Commission is a GOP-dominated group whose members include the President of the Art Pope-funded Civitas Institute (yeah, there’s some ethical, non-partisan people), and is chaired by Speaker Thom Tillis’ hand-picked appointee.
If they could have found Rep. Moffitt “innocent”, they would have. But they didn’t. They basically said it was Turner’s word against Moffitt’s, and said they had no “probable cause” to investigate further.
Rep. Moffitt’s prior record of bullying and then lying to cover it up speaks for itself.
It’s hard to see how The Other Barry can say the seven-member group is “GOP-dominated,” when four of the seven were appointed by either a Democratic governor or when the General Assembly was led by Democrats:
Jane F. Finch was appointed by Governor Michael Easley on January 1, 2007 for an initial one year term. She was reappointed by Governor Beverly Perdue.
Barbara K. Allen was appointed by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House on January 1, 2007, to a term expiring December 31, 2010. She was reappointed by Governor Perdue for another term expiring on December 31, 2014. Ms. Allen, who attended Peace College, is a former chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party
Clarence G. Newsome was appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Senate President Pro Tempore on January 23, 2007. His term expired on December 31, 2010 and he was reappointed to another term expiring on December 31, 2014. Dr. Newsome received his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Divinity, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Duke University, where he continues to serve on the Board of Trustees. He most recently served as President of Shaw University in Raleigh.
James (LeRoy) LeRoy Roberts was appointed by Governor Beverly Perdue on May 31, 2012 to a term expiring December 31, 2015.
There are eight members on the Ethics Commission.
“The Office of Governor Pat McCrory announced today that the Honorable George Wainwright Jr. of Carteret County has been appointed to the State Ethics Commission.”
May 2, 2014
Just in time to rule on the Turner complaint. Isn’t that a coinkydink?
Are the votes of each member recorded, or are they taken by secret ballot? Are the total votes, in favor, opposed, announced? Does the public know how the four Democrats and the four Republicans on the committee voted? (With each party having four votes, it’s still hard to call it GOP-dominated.)
It might be helpful to note that the entire commission threw out Turner’s fraudulent complaint. The vote was a unanimous decision.
By no honest understanding of the term can a panel made up of 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans be “GOP dominated.”
Chaired by Thom Tillis’s handpicked nominee.