September 28, 2017/Press

SHOT: GOP Lawyers Argued They Needed More Time to Draw Maps CHASER: GOP House Leader Already Knew His District “A Long Time Before” Anyone Else

Raleigh – Lawyers for the Republican General Assembly argued repeatedly in court in late July that they had not made any progress on drawing new maps and that they needed several months to produce them, arguing that any shorter timeline would “truncate the legislature’s ability to hold hearings across the state.”

Yet just yesterday, new audio revealed that Republicans had already drawn their maps and that Republican House Majority Leader John Bell knew what his district would look like “a long time before” everyone else. According to WRAL, Bell “enrolled his daughter in a swim club in a newly added part of his district well before the maps were made public.”

The federal three judge panel found the legislative maps unconstitutional nearly year before lawyers for the Republican General Assembly argued they had not started drawing new maps, noting in July:

“Legislative Defendants have offered no evidence to support their contention that they need three-and-a- half more months to remedy the constitutional violations identified by this Court almost a year ago, nor have they offered any evidence that they have not begun to evaluate what the revised districts might look like.”

As today’s audio shows, Republicans clearly had already begun drafting new maps and showing legislative leaders their districts. This raises two key questions:

  • Did the lawyers for the Republican General Assembly in court willingly lie or misrepresent when Republicans had drawn new maps in order to obstruct and delay new maps?
  • Did the Republican caucus – including Republican leaders like redistricting committee chair David Lewis, House Speaker Tim Moore, and Senate Leader Phil Berger – commit serious ethics violations by lying to the public about when the new maps were drawn?

“Everyone knew Republicans were lying about when they drew their maps as part of a dishonest effort to delay new maps for as long as possible – this new audio just proves it,” NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds said. “Republicans made a mockery of this entire process. It’s time the three-judge panel throws out these unconstitutional maps and draw new, fair maps themselves.”