Shades of Gray: McCrory appointed judge, candidate contributions

According to North Carolina state campaign finance reports 17 candidate contributions have been attributed to Judge Beecher “Gus” Gray since 2008, totaling $12,046 received by 5 candidates. If the reports are correct some would seem to represent violations of the NC Judicial Code of Conduct. Canon 7 of the Code prohibits judges from personally making financial contributions or loans to almost all individuals seeking election to office.

Beecher Reynolds Gray was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory as a Special Superior Court Judge in January 2014, prior to which he had served as an Administrative Law Judge for the Office of Administrative Hearings since 1986. He was sworn in 01/09/2014 for a term ending 01/09/2019. Six of the 17 contributions have been recorded since taking office. The six campaign contributions provided $1,000 to Pat McCrory, $2,650 to Brent Jackson, and $1,000 to Phil Berger Sr. (These six contributions are specifically covered by the Judicial Code of Conduct)*.

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Previous Newby contributions

The Pat McCrory Committee reported a contribution of $500 on 9/18/08 from Paul Newby, listed as “Associate Justice, NC Supreme Court”. The Committee to Elect Dan Forest reported a contribution of $500 on 10/19/12 from Paul Newby, listed as “Supreme Ct Justice, State of NC”. The candidate contributions appear to have violated a section of the NC Code of Judicial Conduct which limits the political activity of judges, but the 90 day window for reporting and taking action on such violations has long since passed.
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Justice Newby makes questionable contribution to joint candidate committee

NC Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby made a contribution to a joint candidate committee for four Wake County Republican candidates for county commissioner. The contribution may have violated a section of the NC Code of Judicial Conduct which limits the political activity of judges. The joint candidate committee is called United 4 Wake and campaign filings show that contributions are to be allocated equally, with each candidate, Paul Coble, Rich Gianni, Phil Matthews and Joe Bryan to receive 25%. Newby made a donation 9/20/2014 of $150. A 3/24/2014 memo from the NC Judicial Standards Commission in advance of the campaign season provided information regarding permissible and prohibited political conduct.
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