Tillis skipped Senate VA Committee hearing to attend fundraiser in Greensboro

Updated: May. 27, 2019 at 12:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) missed a hearing of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee last week to attend a fundraiser in Greensboro.

Tillis is a member of the committee, which held a hearing last Wednesday afternoon to consider a range of legislation, including bills addressing veterans’ mental health care, homeless veterans and a bill that would address exposure to potentially toxic substances at Camp Lejeune, a Marine base in eastern North Carolina.

There is no evidence of Tillis attending the hearing. He is not seen in any portion of the video from the hearing posted on the committee’s website and there is no other record showing he took part in the hearing.

Later on Wednesday, Tillis missed a number of floor votes in the Senate, including one to confirm a new federal judge in the Western District of North Carolina.

Instead, Tillis spent the day in North Carolina, the Associated Press reported, where he attended a fundraiser in Greensboro with Vice President Mike Pence, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Louis DeJoy, who was announced last week as the lead fundraiser for the 2020 Republican National Convention, to be held in Charlotte.

When asked why Tillis decided to skip the VA Committee hearing, a spokesman for the senator did not directly answer the question.

“Senator Tillis has worked closely with President Trump and VA Secretary Wilkie to support our veterans, and he has a strong record of results to show for it,” spokesman Daniel Keylin wrote in an email. “North Carolina veterans know that Senator Tillis has pushed for veterans’ access to timely health care, strengthened accountability at the VA, advocated for the victims of toxic contamination at Camp Lejeune, and expanded educational opportunities for veterans.”

Keylin’s emailed statement continued without directly addressing whether Tillis was in Greensboro or that he was at a fundraiser.

“While it was reported that Senator Tillis was with Vice President Pence in North Carolina this week, Senator Tillis was also delivering results for North Carolinians by introducing legislation to ensure veterans poisoned at Camp Lejeune receive proper medical treatment from the VA, playing a vital role in securing hundreds of millions of dollars in disaster relief for North Carolina, and securing major wins for our state’s servicemembers, military families, and military installations,” Keylin said.

Tillis’ decision to skip Wednesday’s hearing to raise money for his political campaign comes after he attacked his then-opponent for doing the same thing in 2014.

When Tillis challenged then-Senator Kay Hagan in 2014, a decision by Hagan to skip a national security meeting in favor of attending a fundraiser became a central issue in the campaign that fall, according to an AP article at the time.

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