NC con­gress­man says ad tar­get­ing his op­po­nent by su­per PAC is an ‘ex­am­ple of bro­ken pol­i­tics’

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY BRIAN MUR­PHY bmur­[email protected]­clatchydc.com

An out­side group linked to Repub­li­can House lead­er­ship is spend­ing $1.4 mil­lion to boost Rep. Ge­orge Hold­ing’s re-elec­tion bid in North Carolina.

But Hold­ing is dis­miss­ing one of the group’s at­tack ads, which hits Hold­ing’s Demo­cratic chal­lenger Linda Cole­man for pay­ing her taxes late.

“It’s an ex­am­ple of an out­side group spend­ing money and not know­ing what is go­ing on in North Carolina,” Hold­ing said. He said the ad is “a good ex­am­ple of bro­ken pol­i­tics.”

The Con­gres­sional Lead­er­ship Fund, a su­per PAC, re­leased the ad on Oct. 8. It says Cole­man “didn’t pay her taxes on time — time and time again, miss­ing the due date over 60 times” and cites the Wake County Rev­enue Depart­ment web­site.

Wake County and all North Carolina coun­ties list the due date for prop­erty taxes as Sept. 1, but the pay­ments are not con­sid­ered delin­quent un­til early Jan­uary, ac­cord­ing to state law. Both Cole­man and Hold­ing made pay­ments af­ter Sept. 1 but by Jan­uary on sev­eral dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties — pay­ments that could be con­sid­ered as “miss­ing the due date,” ac­cord­ing to Wake County records.

“Every­one waits un­til the last minute. Why should you give the gov­ern­ment money be­fore you have to?” Hold­ing said, not­ing he does not con­sider pay­ments late un­til in­ter­est and fees are as­sessed.

“No­body pays their taxes on Sept. 1,” Cole­man said. “He’s grasp­ing at any­thing. He has no is­sues that are res­onat­ing with the vot­ers of the dis­trict. He’s try­ing to paint me as some­one that doesn’t pay my taxes. Peo­ple know that’s not true.”

Hold­ing is not be­hind the ad. Cam­paigns and su­per PACs are not al­lowed to co­or­di­nate.

“I’m not go­ing to call them and tell them what not to run,” said Hold­ing, a for­mer U.S. at­tor­ney.

A search of Wake County tax records dat­ing back to 1994 found that Cole­man had paid prop­erty taxes on homes or cars af­ter the date that in­ter­est be­gan on eight oc­ca­sions. A search of the same tax records dat­ing back to 1995 found that Hold­ing had paid prop­erty taxes on homes or cares af­ter the date that in­ter­est be­gan on eight oc­ca­sions.

Hold­ing is seek­ing his fourth term in the U.S. House.

Cole­man, a for­mer Wake County com­mis­sioner and state law­maker, was in a sta­tis­ti­cal tie with Hold­ing ac­cord­ing to sev­eral cam­paign and ex­ter­nal polls re­leased in Au­gust and Septem­ber.

Lib­er­tar­ian Party can­di­date Jeff Matemu is also on the bal­lot in the 2nd Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, which in­cludes parts or all of Wake, Franklin, Har­nett, John­ston, Nash and Wil­son coun­ties.

Hold­ing was the tar­get of out­side spend­ing early in the cam­paign when a lib­eral group, North Carolini­ans for a Fair Econ­omy, launched ads hit­ting the in­cum­bent on health care. The group spent more than $280,000 on tele­vi­sion and ra­dio ads against Hold­ing. Hold­ing said those ads were un­fair.

“It’s just as silly for an out­side group to say I’m against giv­ing peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions a path­way to keep that coverage as it is to say that if you don’t pay your taxes on Sept. 1, then they’re late,” Hold­ing said.

The House-passed Amer­i­can Health Care Act, which Hold­ing sup­ported as a re­place­ment for the Af­ford­able Care Act, didn’t elim­i­nate coverage for pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions, though it did in­clude mea­sures that could have weak­ened that coverage.

BOTH COLE­MAN AND HOLD­ING MADE PAY­MENTS AF­TER SEPT. 1 BUT BY JAN­UARY ON SEV­ERAL DIF­FER­ENT PROP­ER­TIES, AC­CORD­ING TO WAKE COUNTY RECORDS.

N&O file pho­tos

Linda Cole­man, left, and Ge­orge Hold­ing

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