House committee approves impeachment investigation of NC secretary of state

RALEIGH, NC (WBTV/AP) - A committee in the North Carolina House of Representatives will consider legislation that would begin impeachment proceedings against North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall on Wednesday.

The House Rules Committee approved a resolution to investigate Marshall on allegations that could lead to articles of impeachment being filed against her during a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Representative Chris Millis (R-Pender) will introduce the measure. The move comes months after he called attention to the fact that Marshall was commissioning notaries public who are not legal residents of the United States.

Millis demanded Marshall's resignation in March, after her office issued commissioned to people holding DACA cards, a program started by the Obama administration that allows certain illegal aliens who entered the US as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

A notary public witnesses and certifies the signing of important documents, including birth certificates and absentee ballots.

In March, Millis said he would move to impeach Marshall if she did not voluntarily leave office.

Millis' resolution outlined four areas that the proposed investigative committee would examine: 

  1. “That Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall granted notary public commissions to several hundred persons who did not ‘(r)eside legally in the United States’ in violation of G.S. 10B-5, and who were not ‘qualified aliens’ in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1621.”
  2. “That Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall granted said notary commissions to ineligible aliens surreptitiously, without means for the public or the General Assembly to have knowledge of such action.”
  3. “That Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall made untrue statements to the press and public involving the grant of these notary commissions to ineligible aliens.”
  4. “That senior staff of the office of the Secretary of State, in furtherance of Secretary Elaine F. Marshall’s actions, misrepresented the facts surrounding the granting of these notary commissions to ineligible aliens to the Joint Legislative Oversite Committee on General Government of the North Carolina General Assembly.”

A spokesman for Marshall declined a request to speak with the secretary on camera in response to Wednesday's news that the House would take up legislation to begin the process that could possibly lead to Marshall's impeachment.

But a spokeswoman for her office issued the following statement late Wednesday afternoon:

"I strongly oppose today's House Rules Committee resolution and I reject Representative Millis' claim that any state or federal laws were broken by this Department."

"My Office has never commissioned a notary public on the basis of a DACA card. We have openly communicated with the General Assembly about our process. We have always told the General Assembly that if they want to change the notary law, we will administer such changes. Not one single change has been sent to us to administer in this area."

"The public should continue to have full confidence in the integrity of the more than 144,000 notaries public in North Carolina. Every single non-citizen we have commissioned as a notary public has presented appropriate federally-issued work authorization documentation to qualify as a notary."

"I can only conclude that this is a political attack and nothing else."

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