The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
N.C. Democratic Party Chairman David Parker speaks at a news conference at the Democratic Party headquarters in Raleigh. (Photo: AP) N.C. Democratic Party Chairman David Parker speaks at a news conference at the Democratic Party headquarters in Raleigh. (Photo: AP)  

Taxpayer cash used to pay off alleged NC Dems’ sexual harassment victim?

It’s unclear as of now if the North Carolina Democratic Party used taxpayer funds in the financial settlement it made with former communications staffer Adriadn Ortega after he alleged former NCDP executive director Jay Parmley sexually harassed him.

Parmley resigned a little over a week ago after Ortega’s allegations surfaced publicly several months after they were made. With the revelation of Ortega’s allegations came the news that the NCDP made a financial settlement with Ortega and had both Ortega and Parmley sign non-disclosure agreements to keep the issue quiet.

To this day, it’s unclear if taxpayer money was used to make that financial settlement and the NCDP won’t answer questions related to that aspect of the scandal.

JWP Civitas Institute president Francis De Luca asked State Board of Elections executive director Gary Bartlett last week to investigate whether the NCDP used taxpayer cash to make the deal with Ortega. The party has access to a few hundred thousand taxpayer dollars that could have been used to pay Ortega’s settlement.

“The state of North Carolina provides taxpayer funds directly to political parties in North Carolina, which in this case was over $331,000 to the NCDP in 2011 according to the ‘Political Parties Financing Fund Annual Report Verification’ filed 12/22/11,” De Luca wrote to Bartlett on April 19.

“It is vital that the hardworking taxpayers of North Carolina be assured that no taxpayer check-off funds, illegal contributions or other prohibited funds were used for these purposes, and that any money involved was handled in an accountable and transparent manner.”

De Luca added, “If any such prohibited funds were used, or if the NCDP failed to properly report funding of any kind, the NCDP should be required to report the transaction with the State Board of Elections so the public can have access to the information.”

Since De Luca’s original request, TheDC reported that Rebecca Burgin, a long-time former girlfriend of Parmley from his days in Oklahoma, has said she believes Parmley infected her with HIV. According to Burgin, as the conflict between her and Parmley worsened she sought potential legal remedies. She said Parmley’s lawyer offered her health coverage paid for by the Democratic National Committee to manage her HIV. Burgin ultimately declined the offer, fearing it would constitute fraud.

The JWP Civitas Institute’s Susan Myrick — who is unrelated to North Carolina Republican Rep. Sue Myrick — said Tuesday that Burgin’s story reaffirms the need for Bartlett’s elections board to investigate the funding source for the NCDP’s settlment with Ortega.

“In light of this revelation, it is even more important for the State Board of Elections (SBOE) to investigate the source of funds used by the NCDP to arrange for a reported financial settlement with the former staff member,” Myrick wrote in a blog post.

Bartlett’s office did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment on whether or not he will investigate the matter, and NCDP spokesman Walton Robinson did not answer when TheDC asked him if taxpayer money was used in the settlement.

During a press conference last week NCDP chairman David Parker dodged questions about the source of funding for the settlement.

When asked if he knew where the money came from, Parker said: “I do not know. I leave that up to the lawyer.” (SEE ALSO: N.C. Democratic Party chair ousted from Charlotte DNC convention committee)

Parker and other Democratic Party officials have also refused to answer questions about the size and details of the settlement.

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