As of late, partisan politics have been a center stage issue at both the state and national level. Here in North Carolina, the past legislative session was rife with partisan bickering as Democrats struggled to deal with the first loss of both legislative bodies in the past century. In response to the flurry of legislation that had previously, never stood a chance of seeing the light of day, Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue made a partisan statement by vetoing a record number of bills—only to have Republicans set a record number of overrides. Unfortunately, this sort of partisanship can lead to negative in-group/out-group effects where parties staunchly defend all but the most guilty fellow party members. The Eric Holder Fast and Furious debate is a prime example of this mentality. Fortunately, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) has not succumbed to this in-group bias over the LaRoque allegations.
Recent questions have arisen about whether Rep. Stephen LaRoque (R-Kinston) violated federal tax laws or ethics policies after it was shown he used a nonprofit that he ran to give loans to two lawmakers and a $200,000 loan with no interest to his for-profit business, LaRoque Management. It has also been revealed that this loan to his business did not show up on the IRS tax form. Left leaning groups, such as NC Policy Watch, quickly jumped on these questionable loans demanding an investigation.
When asked at a Morrisville town hall forum, Speaker Tillis said that he would refer the issue to the legislative ethics committee to see if it was within their jurisdiction to investigate and if not, he and other legislators would decide what action to take, if any. Fortunately, rather than play partisan politics and protect Republicans at the cost of their integrity, Tillis has taken the high road to investigate these allegations. This is much more than can be said of Congressional Democrats’ defense of Eric Holder.