Former state Sen. accused of illegal lobbying on charter school bill

Former state Sen. accused of illegal lobbying on charter school bill

- in Legislative Watch

(Cross-posted from The Progressive Pulse)

The N.C. Secretary of State is looking into accusations that former state Sen. Eddie Goodall has been illegally lobbying for charter school legislation.

A complaint was filed by N.C. Association of Educators, according to this report from the Associated Press.

Goodall, a Mint Hill Republican, did not seek re-election in the past election, and took a job as president of the N.C. Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

The alliance’s biggest priority this year is to get the charter school legislation, Senate Bill 8, passed and Goodall has attended many of the hearings and meetings about the bill. Senate Bill 8 would lift the cap on charter schools, and allow the schools greater access to public schools’ funding streams.

Legislators are supposed to sit out of the lobbying game for six months after they leave office. Goodall’s term expired in December, which wouldn’t make him eligible to lobby until this May.

Violations of the state’s lobbying laws are criminal misdemeanors and punishment can also include fines up to $5,000 per violation. Lobbyists also have stop lobbying for two years following their conviction date, if found guilty of the criminal offenses.

Goodall told the Associated Press he’s not been actively lobbying, but just attending public meetings and mentioned the bill once to one legislators. He said that despite public statements like this one he made after the N.C. Senate passed a version of the bill.

“Honorable Senators,

The Alliance Board of Directors asked me to thank you all for your historic support of the education “little guys”, the public charter schools. Special thanks to the leadership of the sponsor, Sen. Stevens, as well as the Education Co-Chairs, Sens. Tillman, Preston, and Soucek. We are also proud of those of you speaking on the senate floor for SB 8 at the second reading Wednesday.

Our organization will be a working partner of the broad charter community that looks at a new Commission and the schools that grow from it, with high expectations, no, demands, for academic success. None of us want anything less for any of our state’s children.

However, without your political courage, the gate would remain closed for the 1.5 million children looking to you and us for help. You have never stood so tall as you did Wednesday, when you reached down to lift up these children.

Eddie Goodall, President”

For those keeping close tabs of Goodall, he also got caught this week with continuing to use the special plates that the DMV issues to legislators. The plate carries its perks, including letting lawmakers park on the streets surrounding the General Assembly. (It’s a ‘No Parking Zone’ for the rest of us).

Goodall told the N&O’s Lynn Bonner that said he’s going to get new plates, and just hadn’t realized his special legislative plates expired on Feb. 15. His inspection sticker was also expired.

About the author

Sarah Ovaska-Few, former Investigative Reporter for N.C. Policy Watch for five years, conducted investigations and watchdog reports into issues of statewide importance. Ovaska-Few was also staff writer and reporter for six years with the News & Observer in Raleigh, where she reported on governmental, legal, political and criminal justice issues.