Powerful lawmakers respond to On Your Side investigation - | WBTV Charlotte

Powerful lawmakers respond to On Your Side investigation

Representative David Lewis Representative David Lewis
House Majority Leader Mike Hager House Majority Leader Mike Hager

The powerful state lawmaker at the center of an On Your Side investigation last week sent an email to fellow Republicans in the North Carolina House of Representatives on Tuesday defending himself.

Representative David Lewis (R-Harnett) answered our questions about changes he made to a bill that benefited the owner of a business who had contributed $2,000 to his campaign.

Lewis, who as chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee controls the flow of legislation through the state’s lower chamber, re-wrote the portion of a bill aimed at drastically reducing the number of copies of appellate court decisions required to be printed and distributed.

The bill, House Bill 38, was pulled from committee and sent to the Rules Committee less than a month after Lewis received his second $1,000 contribution from the owner of the company that held the multi-million  dollar contract to print the appellate court decisions.

Original story: Changes made to bill prompt questions for House Rules Chairman

Lewis agreed to answer our questions on camera and then held a conference call with his colleagues hours before the story was set to air to urge fellow Republicans to work together. On Tuesday, Lewis sent an email to the House Republican Caucus that included a transcript of his remarks on the call.

“I know the temptation is to think this is easy and our majorities are perpetual.  If we all give in to the temptation to put our personal ambitions and biases against each other ahead of working for the people, we will not be here long,” the transcript of the call provided by Lewis said.

Lewis doubled down on the remarks he made on Thursday’s conference call in his email on Tuesday.

“The remarks I made on the conference call represent my best effort to explain why the allegations leveled at me in a recent WBTV segment are absurd,” Lewis said. “This drumbeat of pay to play is baseless, without merit, and 100% false.”

Lewis also used his email to attack House Majority Leader Mike Hager (R-Rutherford), who he accused of shopping the story around to reporters.

“If Representative Hager believes I will stand by while he uses the media to falsely attack me, he is sorely mistaken,” Lewis wrote in his email Tuesday.

The report published about the changes made to the legislation while it was in Lewis’ committee and the campaign contributions he accepted were based on legislative records and campaign finance reports, all of which are publicly available.

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