Disaster Relief Funds Not Being Used to Pay Legal Expenses

Press Release:

    Raleigh, N.C.     The following statement was issued today by Bob Stephens, General Counsel for Governor Pat McCrory:

  • "Various media have reported that Governor McCrory's administration is using disaster relief funds, or will use disaster relief funds, to pay lawyers to challenge, in court, the federal overreach by the Obama administration on bathroom, locker room, and shower facility policies in North Carolina and to defend North Carolina's laws and policies regarding the use of these facilities.
  • "More than 20 other states have followed North Carolina's lead in filing lawsuits against the Obama administration on this issue.
  • "Due to the North Carolina Attorney General's repeated refusal to fulfill his statutory duty to represent the State in litigation, my office retained outside counsel to prosecute, and when necessary to defend, these lawsuits. However, contrary to media reports, we have not used any disaster relief funds to pay the legal expenses relating to these lawsuits.
  • "During the recent legislative short session, the General Assembly recognized that Attorney General Cooper's disregard for his job would impose costs on the state and authorized $500,000 to be used for litigation expenses out of the state's contingency and emergency fund. It is not uncommon for the fund to be used for this purpose.
  • "However, the governor did not ask the General Assembly to allocate the funds from this contingency and emergency fund and he did not sign into law the bill which did so. More importantly, under Governor McCrory no disaster relief money has been used to pay for legal expenses related to the bathroom lawsuits. Instead, available funds from agency and departmental budgets have been and will be used for this expense. The administration's fiscal prudence and sound management in the last four years allow the state to pay these costs without impacting our considerable savings for emergency situations.
  • "Governor McCrory has made the state's rainy day fund a key budgetary priority. He understands the importance of having disaster relief funds available in case they are needed. Under his leadership, the state has added more than $1.1 billion in savings to build up a nearly $1.6 billion reserve, the largest in North Carolina history. While the Attorney General's failure to act has imposed costs on the taxpayer, it will not be impacting our ability to respond to emergency situations."

  • Contact: Crystal Feldman
  •     govpress@nc.gov

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