New attack ad targets McCrory

Pat McCrory
May 18, 2012 3:53:04 PM PDT
Television viewers in the Triangle have likely noticed the uptick in the number of political commercials on television in recent weeks.

One from the Obama campaign touts his record since taking office, while a new one launched Friday by the Romney campaign speaks about what he'd do on day 1 if elected to the White House.

It's not just the national campaigns making ad buys in North Carolina. Candidates for statewide office and their supporters are also starting to spend.

The Democratic Governors Association is bankrolling a commercial critical of Republican gubernatorial nominee Pat McCrory. The group called North Carolina Citizens for Progress produced the ad that launched Friday. A DGA spokesman said the ad buy's cost is comparable to one for a commercial started this week by the Republican Governors Association, which was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The ad seeks to pressure McCrory to release more information about his financial dealings over the past few years. So far, he's declined to release his tax returns, and critics suggest that shows he's had a cozy relationship with large corporations.

"Pat McCrory has been going around the state campaigning on ethics and cleaning up state government and that he's never had a hint of corruption of conflict of interest but that's not true," offered Justin Guillory with Progress NC Action.

The new ad from Citizens for Progress claims McCrory was paid over $140,000 to join the board of Tree.com Inc. while he was in his last year as mayor of Charlotte. Filings with the SEC show McCrory has received more than $300,000 from the company and it has given his campaign nearly $25,000.

The ad goes even further - suggesting McCrory lobbied for Tree.com while he was mayor.

Contacted by ABC11 Friday, McCrory's campaign disputed that, saying that while he did ask the state to give Tree.com subsidiary tax breaks before he joined the company's board, he was just trying to get the company to stay in his city as any mayor would.

The campaign said it was also contemplating legal action over the statement that McCrory lobbied for the company to get the ad taken off the air. McCrory has said repeatedly he has done no lobbying work, which would be unlawful without proper registration with the state.

As for why he won't release the tax records showing how he's earned his money as he worked for consulting and law firms since he ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2008, McCrory has spoken to that issue before with ABC11.

"I've released all the information that's required by North Carolina law, and I am proud of that," he said in an April interview.

And in a sit down with ABC11's Larry Stogner last week, McCrory said he wants to shield his clients.

"These are customers I care about and I think that's why they call it personal income tax," he offered.

ABC11 is one of the television stations that received that cease and desist letter, which said an injunction is in the works if the ad is not pulled.

Our lawyers are reviewing the letter.

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