WASHINGTON, D.C., July 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo went too far in his public opposition to North Carolina’s bathroom bill, according to two complaints alleging the Democrat’s administration violated federal law in running taxpayer funded ads in North Carolina critical of the state’s leadership in advance of upcoming elections.
Cuomo, along with several employees of the state’s economic development agency, violated the Hatch Act, a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) says, by running the commercials that “mention North Carolina and its leadership in a transparent attempt to criticize, interfere and affect” the state’s elections.
Retired North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr filed a complaint with both the OSC and New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics, Fox News reports, over the ads that market New York’s business climate as “where the true leaders are” and “where we understand the value of diversity.”
The ads reference North Carolina’s “transgender” bathroom law, along with other states’ policies, while a narrator states, “as some in America seem to be forgetting exactly what freedom means … ”
The OSC complaint says the ads go “beyond appropriate economic-development recruitment,” stating, “By using public funds to promote New York as supporting certain policies and implicitly criticizing contrary political decisions made in North Carolina, an ethical imitation has been breached.”
The commercials began airing in North Carolina in late June but have since been pulled.
The Hatch Act, a federal law passed in 1939, regulates the political activity of sitting government officials, barring the misuse of official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election.
Republican North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is up for re-election this fall, along with the state’s legislature, with McCrory facing the state’s Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who opposes this and other legislation preserving restroom access to a person’s natural gender.
Cuomo spokesman John Kelly called the complaints filed by Orr “frivolous,” according to the Wall Street Journal, but did not respond to their allegation of an effort by Cuomo’s office to influence North Carolina’s elections.
Kelly instead diverted to framing the transgender bathroom issue as one of human rights, stating, “It would be funny if the issues we were actually talking about did not involve human rights and basic equality. New York welcomes everyone, everyone, who seeks to embrace freedom while pursuing their dreams.”
McCrory campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz said that “despite Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to trash North Carolina with boycotts and false ads, his residents continue to move here for lower taxes and job opportunities because New York is the second worst state for business while North Carolina is one of the best.”
Kelly responded that “the delusion of North Carolina’s leadership is boundless. We reject their sanctimonious discrimination.”
McCrory and the state of North Carolina have endured significant backlash for acting to protect the privacy and security of the state’s residents by passing H.B. 2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, earlier this year.
H.B. 2 was enacted in response to the city of Charlotte having passed a city ordinance requiring schools and private businesses to allow members of one biological sex to use the restrooms, showers and private facilities of the opposite sex.
Family advocates say allowing individuals who identify as “transgender,” those suffering with gender dysphoria, access to facilities of the opposite sex does not help those individuals in managing their condition, and it puts the privacy and safety of others at risk.
This hostile response to H.B. 2 included LGBT pushback, immense pressure from dozens of elite U.S. corporations and legal threats from the Obama Administration to withhold an estimated $2 billion in federal education funds, along with boycott threats from the NBA, NFL and some music artists.
Cuomo, known for his support of LGBT issues, abortion and other liberal causes, has been among those actively opposing the law, and was part of a group of leaders in several U.S. municipalities that issued bans of publicly funded travel.