By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
May 11, 2106
RALEIGH – Did North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper conspire with businesses and the U.S. Department of Justice in their efforts to bully and blackmail the state over House Bill 2? And if so, to what extent did he use state resources and personnel to campaign against the new law? These are questions that the Civitas Institute and the North Carolina Values Coalition hope to get answered via a public records request delivered to Cooper’s office Monday.
The Public Facilities and Security Act, passed in March primarily to maintain sex-specific bathrooms in public buildings, has come under fire from several nationwide businesses which have threatened to boycott North Carolina or have canceled expansion plans in the state.
On March 29, Cooper, the Democratic nominee for governor, refused to enforce the law and predicted it would set North Carolina’s economy back. Suspicions that he was working to help fulfill his own prophecy were heightened on May 3, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Cooper had contacted Sales Force CEO Marc Benioff to discuss the law. Known for his corporate activism, California-based Benioff contacted Bank of America and Deutsche Bank, which then weighed in against HB 2.
Civitas and the North Carolina Values Coalition have asked for correspondence between Cooper or his staff and those three companies as well as PayPal, which blamed HB 2 for its decision to pull the plug on a plan to expand in Charlotte. Their public records request also seeks copies of any correspondence between Cooper or his staff and the United States Department of Justice, which is suing North Carolina over the law, alleging that it violates Titles VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act.
At a Raleigh press conference Monday, Civitas President Francis De Luca said the suit is “not based in reality and not based in law” and called it “federal blackmail.”
Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, said the public deserves to know whether the Attorney General has had a role in “blackmail and bullying.”
“Based on information released to the public last week, we believe that the Attorney General has colluded with major corporate CEOs to cause economic harm to the State of North Carolina by inciting them to threaten and bully the state,” Fitzgerald said.
“Let the nation hear loud and clear from the state of North Carolina: we will not be bullied, we will not be threatened, we will not cave to your political pandering and blackmail. We will however, stand firm to protect all North Carolinians’ right to privacy and safety in bathrooms, showers and locker rooms.”
Both she and Kellie Fiedorek, with Alliance Defending Freedom, commended Governor Pat McCrory and leaders of the Tar Heel legislature for defending citizens’ privacy, dignity and safety.
Fiedorek went further to say that “the Obama administration and the Department of Justice should be ashamed of themselves for trying to establish a new and inaccurate interpretation of what Title VII and Title IX say.”
And Greg Baylor, ADF senior counsel, said transgender bathroom use was not what Congress had in mind when it passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or amended it in 1972 to prevent sex discrimination in schools.
Baylor said gender dysphoria is a difficult and complicated issue that Americans have been and should continue to work on together, but that the Obama administration has “short-circuited” national discussion and has “usurped the authority of the people and their representatives by rewriting these two statutes.”
At Monday’s press conference, Fitzgerald summed up her thoughts with these words: “The Obama administration has declared war on the state of North Carolina, and this is not the American way.”