Lobbyists on the BOG

There are three currently registered lobbyists on the UNC BOG.

Note: It is against North Carolina law for a registered lobbyist to contribute to a state legislative or council of state committee during the time period in which they are a lobbyist.

David Powers

David Powers is the former chief lobbyist for Reynolds Tobacco who now lobbies on behalf of large health care and insurance companies including Anthem and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC. He was elected to the UNC BOG in 2011 and according to his SEI, his current sources of income include bonuses and stocks from RAI Services, a salary from Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, and a contract with Powers Strategies LLC. He is listed as an officer for Reynolds American on the Secretary of State website as far back as 2008.

Powers worked at Reynolds American in Winston-Salem for 20 years from 1996-2008 as the Vice President for State Government Relations at RAI Services Inc., a subsidiary of Reynolds Tobacco. In 2015 the law firm Womble Carlyle brought on Powers to bolster its lobbying services, particularly government affairs work for companies like Reynolds doing business in North Carolina.

Powers was a registered lobbyist beginning in 2016. He registered on 4/20/16 and resigned 9/30/16. That year, Powers contributed to candidates at the state level during the months in which he was not registered as a lobbyist. He was not a registered lobbyist prior to 2016, but more information is needed to determine his status in 2015. From 2008-2014, Powers was the authorized officer to whom RAI’s lobbyists reported.

Powers donated thousands of dollars to NC House and Senate candidates in early 2016 up until the month he registered as a lobbyist. Powers gave to Dan Forest’s Lt. Governor campaign on 4/4/16, just days before he registered as a lobbyist. After registering, Powers contributed to Berger for Justice on 4/21/16 and several other Republican judicial candidates.

He has not given to any state-level candidates so far in 2019.

Powers’ 2019 Principals:

  • Anthem, Inc. and Affiliates
  • Barringer Sasser LLP
  • BCBS of NC
  • DraftKings Inc.
  • Edgenuity Inc.
  • Encore Capital Group
  • FanDuel Inc.
  • Qmetis
  • RAI Services Company
  • TAE Technologies, Inc.

Tom Fetzer

Tom Fetzer was registered as a lobbyist from 2011-present and from 2005-2006.

Fetzer was hired by David Powers to lobby for RAI services while Powers was RAI’s VP of State Government Relations. Powers registered him as a lobbyist for RAI services in his capacity as an authorized Officer and VP of State Government Relations. Fetzer also lobbied for Duke Energy and the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association.

(Retrieved from Secretary of State Website, 8/1/19)

 Fetzer’s 2019 Principals:

  • Alliance for Better Communities, Inc.
  • Association of Dental Support Organizations
  • Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company
  • Justice Action Network
  • Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.
  • Nationwide Insurance & Affiliates
  • NC Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
  • New Hanover County
  • New Hanover Regional Medical Center
  • North Carolina Airports Association
  • North Carolina Aquarium Society, Inc.
  • North Carolina Athletic Trainers Association
  • North Carolina Beer & Wine Wholesalers Assocation
  • Pepsico
  • Primer Games, LLC
  • RAI Services Company
  • Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority
  • US Med Express
  • WakeMed Health and Hospitlas
  • Wilmington Regional Film Commission

NOTE: In 2013 Fetzer lobbied for Southern Durham Development LLC. Fellow BOG member Alex Mitchell is the president of Southern Durham Development, the controversial developer behind the 751 South project. In 2013 the project almost failed because the City of Durham would not provide water and sewer services to the upscale residential community. However, House Speaker Tim Moore saved Mitchell’s project as then-chairman of the House Rules Committee when he pushed legislation to override the City of Durham, saving 751 South and forcing the city to provide water and sewer services. Mitchell was appointed to the BOG in 2015 and Fetzer was appointed two years later.

Fetzer’s state contributions were only to local and judicial candidates during the years in which he was a registered lobbyist, with the exception of a contribution to Karen Ray for NC House Committee on 1/24/06. The Secretary of State website has no filing or resignation forms uploaded for Fetzer for the principal Lending Tree LLC so further research is needed to determine whether Fetzer was in compliance.

Thom Goolsby

Thom Goolsby has been a registered lobbyist since 2015, after which he has no state contributions. Goolsby’s lobbying registration for 2015 was just under two weeks later than his last contribution, on 3/19/15.

(Secretary of State website, retrieved 8/1/19)

Goolsby’s 2019 Principals:

  • Cape Medical Inc.
  • Family Catering Service
  • Hempleton Investment Group, Inc
  • New Hanover Regional Medical Center
  • Port City Vapor Kava & Oxygen Bar
  • Wallace and Graham, PA

NOTE: Goolsby lobbied on behalf of the Education Freedom Alliance. Lobbyists for the Education Freedom Alliance, for which fellow BOG member C. Philip Byers is the North Carolina representative, were behind efforts to create an ‘achievement school district’ designed to allow charter school operators to take over the state’s poorest-performing schools.

Darrell Allison was registered as a lobbyist for Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina Inc in 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2013. During these years, Allison’s only giving was to PEFNC’s PAC and NC Citizens for Freedom in Education PAC.

Pearl Burris-Floyd was a registered lobbyist for the Greensboro Area Chamber of Commerce a/k/a Greensboro Partnership in 2014 and 2015. She resigned from her position as a lobbyist on 4/30/15.

Burris-Floyd gave no money to state candidates in 2014 and her only contributions at the state level in 2015 were to the Gaston County Republican Party and Citizens to Elect Kathy Harrington (a Senate candidate) in November of 2015.