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During the Time Warner Cable debate on July 11, Mark Walker said of Phil Berger Jr. that “just yesterday we were able to find out that the chief justice of ethics of the North Carolina Supreme Court reprimanded him for misleading the jury not based on the facts. If you want to know specific it was Berger vs. US, May of 2013.”
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Walker Goes After Berger’s Dad
By JOHN HAMMER
July 10, 2014
Sixth Congressional District candidate Mark Walker – who is running against Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. – made some strong allegations on Wednesday, July 9, at a press conference at the Guilford County Republican Headquarters on Market Street. They weren’t about his opponent, which might be expected, but about his opponent’s father, President Pro Tem of the state Senate Phil Berger Sr.
Walker accused Berger Sr. of using his political influence to help his son’s campaign. Walker’s prepared statement says, “It is clear that Phil Berger, Sr. has leveraged his position and influence to steer political contributions to the SuperPAC supporting his son. This is in likely violation of State or federal law. Coordination between SuperPACs and campaigns is strictly prohibited, yet the Berger Campaign and Keep Conservatives United have the same donors and have used parallel – almost identical – tactics to slander Phil Berger, Jr.’s opponents. The money trail leads directly to Phil Berger, Sr., and I am suggesting an ethics investigation into the matter.”
Berger Sr. is in the middle of state budget negotiations in Raleigh and couldn’t be reached for comment. However, his campaign issued this statement: “How can a man who touts his Christian character in one breath bear false witness against his neighbor in the next breath? Mark Walker’s unsubstantiated and baseless assault on Sen. Berger’s character and integrity is just one more example of a desperate candidate trying to escape from his own web of lies.”
Berger Sr. is not involved in Berger Jr.’s campaign, except as the father of the candidate. And the restrictions against super PACs coordinating with candidates is on the expenditure side of the ledger. It is not uncommon for candidates to be involved in raising money for super PACs. It’s just that they can’t tell the super PAC how to spend that money.
When Berger Jr. was asked about the attack on his father, he said, “That is patently absurd.” And added, “How can Mark Walker be trusted when he lied about a simple thing like where he went to college. He’s just not credible.”
Berger Jr. also said that his father was not a part of his campaign.
Walker offered an explanation for why – under “about” – on his Facebook page it says: “Studied at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro-UNCG.” He said it was because his Facebook page was hacked and someone changed it.
If that is the case then Walker should file a complaint because hacking into a Facebook page is illegal.
Walker later said he didn’t know when his Facebook page had been hacked and didn’t know if any other changes had been made. Walker talked as if the change had just been made to his Facebook page, but it has listed “UNCG” for at least 10 days. Walker did say that he did not attend UNCG.
It’s an odd explanation for a mistake on a Facebook page, but it is an odd decision to attack the father of your political opponent, and that’s not all.
Walker, in an earlier Facebook post, accused me, Keep Conservatives United and the Berger campaign of collaborating to create a fake Walker4nc website that said Walker was in favor of “a pathway to legalization” for illegal aliens. In a much earlier conversation, Walker admitted to me that it was his website, but that it was old and his beliefs about the illegal immigrant problem had evolved.
If someone did hack into the Walker Facebook page, why would they only change where he went to school? It defies logic.
I know I had nothing to do with creating a fake Walker website, and if one of his opponents did, why did they only change Walker’s stand on that one issue, and why did Walker say it was his website when I asked him about it?
But more importantly, why is Walker attacking Berger Sr.? Wouldn’t you expect people who supported Berger Sr. to also support his son? Berger Sr. has been around politics for decades. He is a powerful elected official and knows a lot of people and has raised a ton of money. What would be surprising would be if no one who had ever donated to Berger Sr. donated to Berger Jr., or the super PAC that is supporting him.
To accuse either Berger of doing something illegal or unethical because people associated with Berger Sr. made donations to help Berger Jr. get elected doesn’t make any sense. I’d be willing to bet that some people who know Walker’s father have donated to his campaign.
At the end of the press conference state Rep. John Blust endorsed Walker saying that deciding who to vote for had not been difficult but deciding whether or not to publicly endorse Walker was.
Not many people went to both the Berger campaign event at the downtown Marriott on Tuesday night and the Walker campaign celebration at Life Community Church on Wendover Avenue.
To say it was like night and day would not adequately describe the difference in the two events.