Republican Tom Murry, in an expensive campaign to hold on to his NC House District 41 seat against an effective challenge by Democrat Gale Adcock, appears to have stretched military rules and distorted limited experience in order to solicit votes. Murry’s campaign has been making extensive use of web ads, including Facebook promoted posts. One such ad on Facebook, showing Murry in military uniform, appears to occupy the boundaries of military rules on political activity.
Murry apparently joined the NC Army National Guard in June as a Judge Advocate General (JAG), just 4 months ago, and is now using his uniform in a campaign ad. Military rules allow the use of certain photographs in uniform in campaign literature, which accurately reflect actual performance of duty, and with a specific disclaimer, in the context of other non-military biographical information but not as the “primary graphic representation” as Murry has appeared to have done with his web ad on Facebook.
When Chad Barefoot quit his day job as Skip Stam’s assistant to run for a custom-made State Senate seat, he landed on his feet with a job at the political consulting firm of connected Republican Frank Williams. Campaign finance records show that about that time Stam’s campaign committee started paying a regular fee of $4,333.33 for “campaign consulting” to Williams’ firm Pioneer Strategies spaced about every month until Barefoot was elected. Beginning January 2012 there were 10 payments of $4,333.22 and one final payment of $8,666.66 on 10/17/12 for a total of $51,999.99. Barefoot’s campaign had the help of a lot of direct and indirect money, as thoroughly detailed by the Independent weekly, and he was elected that November.
Campaign finance records don’t show that the veteran politician Stam had ever hired Pioneer Strategies before 2012, or after, or that he ever paid such sums for “campaign consulting”. The closest that Stam’s records show is a one-time $4,200 in 2006 to JN Dollar for “mail service” and several payments totaling about $10,000 in 2000 to JN Dollar for “radio ads”. In addition there was one 2012 payment $1,500 to Pioneer Strategies for “website redesign”. You’d have thought that $52,000 for “campaign consulting” might include a website design, especially as Skip Stam is more likely to be giving campaign advice than receiving it. The coincidence of payments may not amount to a smoking gun, but there’s enough bad optics to raise eyebrows more than shot of botox could.
Campaign committees of Paul Coble have been claiming an apparently non-existent degree as one of his qualifications since as early as 2011 when he first ran for Congress. Coble’s current campaign website for Wake County Commissioner claims he “earned a RHU (Registered Health Underwriter) degree from Northeastern University in 1992”. The Northeastern University Registrar’s office could find no record of Paul Coble as a student, nor of a Registered Health Underwriter degree program at the university:
“We are not having any luck finding information about the student or the program.”