Gov. Bev Perdue was a day late and a dollar short expressing concern about sexual harassment allegations at N.C. Democratic Party headquarters.
Make that four months late, and party leaders would rather not mention dollars.
The scandal that cost party Executive Director Jay Parmley his job Sunday took an even more distressing turn when Perdue finally broke her inappropriate silence late Tuesday and revealed that she had known about the allegations since December. Later Tuesday she called for party Chairman David Parker to resign – the same chairman who served with Perdue’s blessing since he briefed her about the whole affair last year.
Some quick background: According to internal party emails and news reports, a state Democratic Party employee was fired in November after alleging that Parmley sexually harassed him. Party leaders crafted a financial settlement and a non-disclosure agreement to make the whole thing go away. Parmley, though, kept his job.
The public knew nothing about it until internal party emails (fretting about the fallout if the episode ever became public) were leaked to the Daily Caller and the (Raleigh) News & Observer. Only then did any Democrat’s ethics needle budge. Parmley resigned under pressure and just about every top elected Democrat called for Parker to follow him out the door. Wednesday night, Parker vowed to stay.
Perdue’s involvement, though, takes it to another level. When reporters asked the governor – the leading Democrat in the state – about it Tuesday, she repeated “this is an internal personnel matter” four times and refused to say when she first learned of the incident. When pressed, she told a reporter to “get over it.”