Tuesday News: Keep it public


GOVERNOR'S OFFICE WANTS COMMITTEE INTERVIEWS, NOT PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS: Following criticism for refusing to allow agency employees to be interviewed by private investigators hired by the legislature, Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration is requesting a public committee meeting where agency representatives would answer questions about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline approval process. Cooper chief of staff Kristi Jones wrote to the legislative oversight committee probing the issue last week. “We have provided you the requested documents, answered your questions and appeared before your committees numerous times on this subject, yet you insist that we answer even more questions from private Republican investigators who should be paid for by the Republican Party and not North Carolina taxpayers,” Jones wrote. Her letter was first reported by WRAL reporter Travis Fain on Twitter.

FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO GREG LINDBERG CONTINUES: The subpoena seeks only more timely records as a follow-up to a subpoena a federal grand jury sent the department in September, department spokeswoman Marla Sink said. The department released a copy of that subpoena in October in response to WRAL News' requests. It declined to provide a copy of the latest subpoena, with Sink saying the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina asked the department not to release it. She cited an exemption in state open records laws for documents tied to criminal inquiries. The details of this investigation aren't publicly known, but the initial subpoena keyed on Lindberg's business dealings in sectors regulated by the insurance department. Subpoena documents at the time indicated that a federal investigator with a background in white-collar crime and an FBI forensic auditor were involved and investigating "drug offenses, crimes against financial institutions, or money laundering crimes."

ALMA ADAMS WILL ATTEND SOTU WITH A VICTIM OF THE WAR ON DRUGS: “I will send a message to President Trump and Congress that we need true reform in the criminal justice system,” Adams told a news conference at the Mecklenburg jail. “There are striking inequities within our criminal justice system,” she said Monday. “It is clear that we are over-criminalizing and over-processing certain communities and crimes.” Dean was convicted of robbery at 16 and served five years in state prison. He said he was out for 11 months and then convicted of selling crack cocaine. For that he received a sentence of life plus five years. He was released in 2017 after serving nearly 23 years on the drug charge. Dean, a self-described political junkie, said he’s looking forward to Tuesday’s speech. “The State of the Union is a little like the Super Bowl to me,” he said.

NOTES FROM THE KAKISTOCRACY: TRUMP PICKS WORLD BANK CRITIC TO LEAD IT: President Donald Trump plans to nominate David Malpass, a Trump administration critic of the World Bank, to lead the institution. That's according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to comment publicly on personnel decisions. Trump is expected to make an announcement later this week. Malpass, the undersecretary for international affairs at the Treasury Department, has been a sharp critic of the World Bank, especially over its lending to China. Malpass would succeed Jim Yong Kim, who announced in January that he is stepping down three years before his term was set to expire. The final decision on a successor to Kim will be up to the bank's board.

TRUMP'S INAUGURAL COMMITTEE TARGET OF FEDERAL INVESTIGATION OVER FOREIGN DONATIONS: In the subpoena, investigators also showed interest in whether any foreigners illegally donated to the committee, as well as whether committee staff members knew that such donations were illegal, asking for documents laying out legal requirements for donations. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds. Prosecutors also requested all documents related to vendors and contractors with the inaugural committee, which raised a record $107 million and spent lavishly. People familiar with the subpoena said prosecutors are interested in potential money laundering as well as election fraud, though it is possible that the prosecutors do not suspect the inaugural committee of such violations. The prosecutors cited those crimes in the subpoena simply as justification for their demand for documents, the people said.