The Corner

GOP Smells ‘Conspiracy’ after Charlotte Observer Pulls Hagan Stimulus Conflict of Interest Story

Republicans accused North Carolina’s Charlotte Observer of engaging in a “conspiracy of silence” after it pulled its story about a state government memo calling for “legal review” of stimulus grants given to the family of Senator Kay Hagan (D., N.C.).

“It’s time to end the conspiracy of silence in the North Carolina media on Senator Kay Hagan’s ‘stimulus’ payday,” the state-party chairman, Claude Pope, said in a Sunday statement. “The freedom of the press is a sacred trust – and hiding the truth is tantamount to lying to the people that they, and Senator Hagan, are supposed to serve.”

As National Review Online reported Saturday, a memo from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources recommends that state officials conduct “further legal review” of a grant given to a company co-owned by Senator Hagan’s husband. 

In particular, his company’s decision to hire a company owned by their son appears to violate prohibitions against self-dealing that were included in the grant agreement, according to the memo.

The Charlotte Observer published a story on the memo Saturday evening, but then took the story offline. A cached version is still available online.

“The people of this state deserve the truth – and they deserve it before the election on Tuesday,” Pope said. “If the Observer hid this news story because it was inaccurate, they ought to tell us. If they hid it to protect Senator Hagan, or because they feared the truth, they ought to apologize for misleading the people of North Carolina.”

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