WEB: Morgan Releases Subpoena, Vows to Fight 'Enemies'
State House Speaker Pro Tem Richard Morgan says political enemies are the source of the latest issue plaguing his final days in the legislature.
The Moore County Republican representative was served with a federal subpoena last week to testify before a federal grand jury investigating campaign finance issues.
"This whole thing is politically motivated," Morgan said Tuesday from his Eagle Springs home.
He reiterated his intention to answer truthfully all questions asked by the grand jury and to produce any documents or other materials requested.
"I don't have anything to hide," Morgan said.
Morgan said he does not blame the federal prosecutors for seeking his testimony because they are duty bound to investigate issues brought to their attention. He does not know the date when he will be called to testify.
The subpoena indicates that the jury will ask Morgan for information about S&M Brands, a small cigarette manufacturing company based in Keysville, Va., and three individuals associated with the company.
In 2004, the company contributed money to a political group formed by Morgan to help finance his re-election campaign.
Morgan voluntarily released the subpoena Monday.
He said Tuesday that making the subpoena public was in keeping with his legislative efforts to keep the workings of the General Assembly and lawmakers as open as possible.
"I've been on the side of disclosure and a champion of the Open Meetings law all the time," he said. "I was not duty bound to release the subpoena, but I did so anyway to the press."
The subpoena also seeks information about Morgan's connections with House Speaker Jim Black, the Democrat with whom he shared speakership duties during the 2003-04 session of the General Assembly. It also mentions interest in two former House Republicans who met with Black as part of negotiations to retain Democratic leadership in the House.
Former Rep. Michael Decker, a Forsyth County Republican, has entered a guilty plea to a federal conspiracy charge, in which he admitted agreeing to switch his affiliation to Democrat to help Black retain his House leadership role three years ago.
Decker told investigators that he accepted $50,000 in cash and campaign checks and a legislative job for his son as part of that deal.
At the time, the Republicans held a slight edge in the House, and his change of party affiliation left the House membership evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, which led to the sharing of speakership duties by Black and Morgan.
Decker later switched back to the Republican Party but lost his next bid for re-election. Black then helped Decker to secure a temporary job in state government to ease his financial problems.
The series of happenings in 2003 left Black, Decker and Morgan with a number of enemies, especially among Republicans. The state GOP party leadership took specific aim at Morgan and made two obvious attempts to unseat him.
It was successful this year, when the state party provided strong support for his opponent in the May primary, Joe Boylan, who won by a 52-48 percent margin in May.
Since that time Morgan has complained of illegal maneuvering by wealthy and influential supporters of the state GOP, which ousted him from the state executive committee for a five-year period.
Morgan fought back by filing a complaint with the State Board of Elections earlier this year. He did not win that battle but says he is considering an appeal to the Wake County Superior Court once the SBOE completes the required paper work. Once the board files that document, Morgan has 30 days in which to perfect an appeal.
"It would be my speculation that when my political enemies did not get what they wanted from the State Board of Elections, they started feeding things to federal prosecutors," Morgan said. "This whole thing is politically motivated."
Morgan said his political enemies are harboring such hatred that they will do just about anything to "kill me dead politically." He said those same political enemies are feeding false information to prosecutors in an effort to intimidate him into dropping any appeal of the SBOE ruling.
He vows to fight back.
"I'm not going to sit back and take it," he said. "I'm a strong person."
Check Wednesday's Pilot and ThePilot.com for the full story.
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