Politics & Government

Two NC leaders’ kids are on campaign payrolls

Lt. Governor Dan Forest is all but running for governor. Here’s the video he released Jan. 28

Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest says he’s forming an “exploratory committee” to run for governor, presumably against North Carolina Gov Roy Cooper, a Democrat.
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Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest says he’s forming an “exploratory committee” to run for governor, presumably against North Carolina Gov Roy Cooper, a Democrat.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s daughter and House Speaker Tim Moore’s son have recently gone to work for political committees benefiting their dads.

Campaign finance records show that Forest’s daughter, Haley Forest, has been on the staff of his campaign for governor since March. Moore’s 16-year-old son, Wilson, held a paid role earlier this year with the N.C. House Republican Caucus, the campaign arm of Moore and other House leaders.

Haley Forest received salary payments totaling $12,356 between March and June, according to the campaign’s latest finance report, and a $1,552 Apple store expense on the report is listed as “laptop for Haley.”

Forest campaign spokesman Andrew Dunn said the lieutenant governor’s daughter serves as his campaign scheduler. “She was previously the deputy director of scheduling for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and interned at the White House in 2017,” Dunn said in an email. Haley Forest is one of three paid staffers listed in the latest finance report, along with campaign manager Hal Weatherman and field director Anthony Palumbo. Dunn and chief operating officer Jim Duncan joined the campaign after the reporting period ended June 30.

Wilson Moore was paid a total of $727 in June, according to the finance report for the N.C. Republican Party. House Caucus Director Stephen Wiley, who hired Moore, said his work ranged “from manual labor like moving office furniture to data collection regarding caucus communications.”

Wiley said Speaker Tim Moore did not ask him to hire his son, but he checked with the speaker to ensure the decision was OK. Wiley said he’s not aware of previous high schoolers getting paid by the caucus; Wilson Moore “did not ask or expect pay, but given the high level of work ethic and initiative he displayed I felt comfortable paying him $9 an hour for the roughly 20 hours a week he worked during the summer. I’ve been as impressed with Wilson’s character and good attitude as anyone else I have ever employed.”

It’s become common for state legislators to employ their children and spouses in their government offices (the General Assembly has no nepotism policy for legislative assistants and similar roles). But the practice is less common in political parties and campaign committees in North Carolina.

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