RALEIGH, NC- State House Speaker Thom Tillis found himself in hot water after authorizing $19,333 to his former chief of staff and his former policy adviser after both resigned because of inappropriate relationships with lobbyists. Tillis defended the payments as a “pay in lieu of notice,” a UK based law that says workers are owed compensation if an employee is terminated without given a minimum notice of one week.
Tillis’s critics argue UK law does not apply in North Carolina, just like Tillis and his fellow GOP members have argued Sharia law does not apply in the state, even though there is no precedent or presence of Sharia law in North Carolina courts. Tillis was short with press members on Sunday, after asking how UK laws apply in North Carolina.
“Whatever, Whatever, I do what I want,” said Tillis.
Legal experts say even if UK laws did apply in North Carolina, “pay in lieu of notice” wouldn’t apply because Tillis’s staff members resigned and were not terminated.
“I run with the GOP gang and we only commit hate crimes,” said Tillis. “Whatever, Whatever, I do what I want.”
Democrats concur such payments are at the very least a crime of hypocrisy. Party leaders question how Tillis could advocate for Amendment One so adamantly, because the amendment according to him protects North Carolina families and marriage as an institution, yet at the same time pay his former staff members, who essentially destroyed several North Carolina families and marriages. For example, Tillis’s ex-Chief of Staff Charles Thomas, who is married, received $12,500 after he resigned for being involved with a married lobbyist with the N.C. Home Builders Association.
“So Tillis is not willing to spend tax payer money legitimizing the relationship of two same-sex individuals because it destroys marriage,” said Kevin Arthur, a LGBT rights advocate. “Yet he is willing to spend tax payer money on an individual, who destroyed two marriages. Cleary Tillis has a screw loose somewhere.”
Tillis is even receiving flack from factions within his own party. Tillis regards himself as a tea party republican and according to his website bio “established himself as a common-sense fiscal conservative and an outspoken critic of tax increases and wasteful government spending.” But several unnamed tea party members came forward Saturday questioning how paying staff members unnecessary severance packages was not wasteful government spending.
“Whatever, I ran for congress and won. Then I had sex with an intern, killed her and hid her body,” said Tillis. “Whatever, I do what I want.”
Tillis remarks on Sunday although crazy are not the first time such words have been spoken. Tillis appeared to be quoting the South Park character Cartman, who makes similar remarks in the season six episode, Freak Strike. In the episode Cartman dresses up as a ‘ho’ and goes on the Maury Provich show to try to prove that he is out of control.
“Did Tillis lose his freaking mind?” said Arthur. “Or did his staff member just Wikipedia what to say when you have no justification for anything you have just done?”
Many political experts believe Tillis granted his staff members severance pay first and then only after being asked critical questions by the media did he come up with the UK law “pay in lieu of notice” as a justification. The Cartman comments seem to be a last ditched effort to save face. However, Tillis did end his Sunday comments with talking about what other UK laws he would like to pass in North Carolina.
“In the UK it is illegal to die in the House of Parliament. I think we need a similar law in North Carolina. It is already hard as it is trying to vote for a bill, but to add the added pressure of maybe staring at a dead person while you do it, now that’s tough,” said Tillis. “In the UK it is also illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armor. That’s a good law. What if somebody tried to reflect light off of it, into my eye while I’m trying to give a speech? That would be a tragedy.”