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David Lewis and Tim Moore have a long history of using lies and trickery to get their way

by RFNC Staff
The havoc they’ve wreaked on democracy isn’t surprising given their history.

Last week’s surprise budget vote rattled even the most seasoned political insiders. Generally, bipartisan consensus was that House Speaker Tim Moore’s maneuver was a “new low” for North Carolina politics, which was no small feat considering the number of lows that have drawn national attention over the past few years.

Looking further into Moore’s background reveals the origin and precedent for his contempt for the democratic process. Those who follow #ncpol closely know Moore and his “top lieutenant,” Rep. David Lewis, the powerful House Rules Chair and Senior Chair of the current redistricting process, have used lies and secret maneuvers to railroad a conservative agenda since 2010. Yet few know Moore’s penchant for trickery extends as far back as student government at UNC-Chapel Hill. Probably even fewer know that Moore and Lewis’ friendship extends back to their time together as College Republicans at Campbell University. 

House Speaker Tim Moore’s contempt for the democratic process extends back to his time at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Moore’s time in student government at Carolina speaks volumes. He transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill from Campbell and soon after became Speaker of Student Congress. As Speaker, Moore began imposing what Lewis called, “outspoken and passionate conservat[ism]” on UNC-Chapel Hill. The most egregious example occurred insummer 1991, when Moore appointed several of his conservative friends to seats on Student Congress and took a vote to defund the Carolina Gay & Lesbian Association (CGLA).

In response, several students sued in Student Supreme Court over the funding cut for CGLA. However, Moore’s roommate, who was serving as Chief Justice at the time, gave Moore favorable treatment by delaying the court hearing and then ruling for neither party---instead citing a flaw in student code. Even when he was in college Speaker Moore was using any means available to push his radical agenda.

It was as Speaker of Student Congress where Moore began his storied redistricting history. He wrote a redistricting resolution that added six off-campus seats to student congress and redrew his own district so that it was less populous (making it easier for him to get re-elected). Moore’s changes led to a messy special election following a wave of resignations as elected student leaders no longer lived in their districts. The next Speaker was forced to clean up his mess, calling Moore’s plan “completely invalid.”  

Rules Chair David Lewis frequently deceives colleagues, reporters, and judges

Lewis, on the other hand, has a lengthy history of lying to colleagues, reporters, and others. Lewis apparently lied to federal judges and claimed he and other NC Republicans didn’t use racial data about voters to draw legislative maps. Court filings and a recording disproved multiple claims by Lewis that lawmakers did not draw the 2017 legislative maps prior to the public approval period. Just last week, Lewisgave different information to a WRAL reporter and his House colleague Rep. Darren Jackson about a House session that led to the Governor’s veto of the state budget being overridden. HB2 architect Skip Stam said Lewis can “obfuscate more than anybody I know,” which matches Lewis’s record of lying to reporters, his colleagues, and federal and state judges.

With this record in mind, Moore and Lewis’ recent behavior should not be surprising.  Instead of trusting elected leaders to represent the best of the best of morality, North Carolinians are forced to second-guess their every move as an attempt to subvert the rights of the people they supposedly represent.

Read more here.