COMPANY WITH TIES TO TIM MOORE GETS $3.5 MILLION DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONTRACT: Noting Caitlyn’s Courage is a private nonprofit, Judson Whitehurst declined to identify the companies that bid on the project other than to confirm Tarheel won it. There is case law, however, that suggests private nonprofits spending government money on public, governmental purposes would be subject to North Carolina’s public records law. Tarheel Monitoring has two ties to House Speaker Tim Moore, a Cleveland County Republican. The wife of Tarheel Monitoring’s owner has made two campaign contributions to Moore, including $3,000 in June 2019. State records also show Raleigh attorney Gene Davis, a close friend of Moore’s who shares legal clients with him, reported an ownership in an offshoot of the business several years ago.
NC SCHOOLS TO GET $1.6 BILLION IN COVID RELIEF FROM FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: A funding bill fast-tracking through the North Carolina legislature will put $1.6 billion in into K-12 schools as the state looks to open more classrooms for in-person learning. Senate Bill 36 has funding for other programs as well, all passed along from a federal relief bill that cleared Congress in December, but the centerpiece is "a huge amount of money that will go to COVID-related costs" in schools, House Appropriations Co-Chairman Dean Arp, R-Union, said Wednesday. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and without debate Wednesday afternoon. It's expected to pass the House Thursday and head to Gov. Roy Cooper for his quick signature. The new bill is the first of at least two measures expected this legislative session to appropriate new pandemic relief dollars. It also includes a $546 million infusion to the state’s emergency rental assistance program, which has doled out more than $133.5 million to help pay rent and utilities for more than 35,000 households.
UNC BOG OP-ED IN NEWS & OBSERVER WAS A LIE, CONCOCTED BY COMMS GUY: Throughout the op-ed, it uses the word “we” and includes phrases such as “we reached an agreement.” But the UNC System now says board members didn’t negotiate the deals. In some cases, Whipple testified, when he wrote “we” it referred to the five members, but in other cases, it referred to the UNC System as a whole. Whipple said he had no knowledge of the group of five having any meetings regarding Silent Sam or negotiating the $74,999 agreement. He also said those five members did not present the $2.5 million deal to the board. “He concocted this narrative for public relations purposes, and in the process, he basically was responsible for a needless lawsuit,” said Hugh Stevens, who represented the DTH in this lawsuit. By listing those board members as authors, any reasonable person would interpret that they were behind the decision, according to Stevens. “The op-ed was a lie,” Stevens said. “Had they told the truth in the first place, there wouldn’t have been any reason to sue those five members.”
HOUSE DEMOCRATS MOVE FORWARD WITH $1.9 TRILLION RELIEF BILL SANS REPUBLICANS: House Democrats voted Wednesday to set the stage for party-line approval of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, heeding the president’s calls for swift action on his first big agenda item — but without the bipartisan unity he promised. The 218-to-212 nearly party-line vote approved a budget bill that would unlock special rules in the Senate allowing Biden’s relief package to pass with a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes usually needed. The Senate is expected to take action on the same legislation later in the week. With the budget resolutions in place, Democrats would be able to get to work in earnest on writing Biden’s proposed relief bill into law — and ultimately pass it without any Republican votes if necessary, though they continued to insist that is not their preference. Biden has courted Senate Republicans, and repeatedly expressed the desire to get their support. But he and his advisers have made increasingly clear that any such agreement must be on Biden’s terms, and that he will not compromise on the $1.9 trillion price tag or major components of his relief legislation, which comes at a moment of economic need for the nation and with Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. Earlier Wednesday, the president told House Democrats on a conference call: “We need to act. … We need to act fast,” according to two people on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to relay his comments.
KEVIN MCCARTHY IS AFRAID TO PUNISH CONSPIRACY BARBIE MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE: The top House Republican refused on Wednesday to punish Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene for spreading false and bigoted conspiracy theories and endorsing political violence against Democrats, condemning the Georgia freshman’s previous comments but declining to take away her posts on influential congressional committees. After days of public silence and private agonizing over what to do about Ms. Greene — who has endorsed the executions of top Democrats, suggested that school shootings were staged and said that a space laser controlled by Jewish financiers started a wildfire — the minority leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, issued a tortured statement that harshly denounced her past statements but then argued that she should face no consequences for them. The challenge to Ms. Greene will continue on Thursday, when House Democrats will call a vote of the full chamber to strip her of her committee assignments. Mr. McCarthy called it a “partisan power grab.” He also warned that if they indulged the effort to strip Ms. Greene of her assignments, Democrats could try to target other Republicans, according to three people familiar with his comments, who insisted on anonymity to divulge the private exchange. With Democrats in control of the House, the measure is certain to pass. But the vote will force Republicans to go on the record for the first time on whether Ms. Greene should be punished for her past comments, and it will force them to confront head-on the conspiracy theories that Mr. Trump allowed to flourish, and in some cases fed, while he was in the White House.