Two-Faced Tillis: a half-million dollars' worth of lies

When the truth doesn't fit your narrative, just change it:

House Speaker Thom Tillis’ claim to have fired two staff caught up in a lobbyist sex scandal in 2012 doesn’t stand up to scrutiny or the public record, and his campaign should remove it from North Carolina airwaves.

The ad, which has more than $500,000 backing it according to Roll Call, contains no backup to the claim that Tillis "fired" his staffers. And Tillis’ own spokesman has repeatedly refused to make the same claim -- that Tillis "fired" the staff in question -- when discussing the ad. The Raleigh News & Observer, upon asking for a justification of the firing claim, was told that Tillis “initiated the action of asking for their resignation.”

If Tillis did "ask" for their resignations, which is not a foregone conclusion, it's only because the affairs were made public and forced his hand. But over and above the parsing of words, the intent of the ad itself is false: to make people believe he dealt with the problem in a rapid and harsh fashion. Here's a little historical context which completely undermines that message:

Tillis “Said That Each Of His Employees Would Typically Be Allowed To Give Two Weeks’ Notice Before Departing” So “He Said He Felt That An Additional Two Weeks Of Pay On Top Of That Was Acceptable.” “In a brief interview Wednesday as the legislature was about to begin its session for the year, Tillis defended the payments as part of the ‘human side’ that takes into account families who were affected by the abrupt job losses. He said that Hobbs is a single mother. Asked why employees who resigned would receive a month of additional pay, Tillis said: ‘I would hope people would think of these two who were in devastating personal situations.’ Tillis, a Republican, said that each of his employees would typically be allowed to give two weeks’ notice before departing. He said he felt that an additional two weeks of pay on top of that was acceptable. ‘They could have given two weeks’ notice and so in the end, we’re talking about 10 more days,’ he said.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 5/17/12]

It also should be noted, tens of thousands of struggling North Carolina families were abruptly cut off from extended unemployment benefits, and many more saw their weekly benefits slashed by this Legislature. They could have used some of that sympathy Tillis was so ready to grant to these bed-hopping staffers, but apparently he used it all up.


Not what Tillis said at the time

At the time, Speaker Tillis repeatedly referred to these as resignations. See the linked News-Observer story.

Tillis has repeatedly described the departures of both staffers as resignations offered by the employees that he accepted.

Just change it

is correct. Here are some excerpts from a WRAL story about Tillis paying off his disgraced staffers:

"two staffers who departed"

"Tillis’s former Chief of Staff Charles Thomas left the office at the end of April"

"Tillis’s former policy advisor Amy Hobbs also left the office"

"I accepted their resignations"

"I stand by my decision to accept their resignation"

Now that he's feeling the heat, he wants to rewrite history.

Oh, and if you read the cited article, the payola is truly disgusting. He gave those two huge pay raises and then gave them big payoffs after they were fired resigned. He cited how they needed the money to take care of their families, blah, blah. Of course no other state employees got anything like that.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014