POLITICS

North Carolina governor expands lawsuit against Republican state officials

The political tug-of-war between North Carolina’s Democratic governor and the Republican-led legislature continues to heat up with new accusations coming almost daily.

On Wednesday, the state’s Republican Party accused Gov. Roy Cooper of violating campaign finance laws. They allege a conference he attended in June, which was hosted by the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, broke the rules because it featured a “Roy Cooper fundraiser” session. State law prohibits politicians from soliciting donations while the legislature is in session.

A day earlier, Cooper called out the GOP legislature for “trampling on his authority,” in a legal filing.

Tuesday’s filing, part of a larger suit filed in May, claims Republicans have an “appetite for reducing the authority” meant solely for the governor.

“The General Assembly introduced numerous bills aimed at diminishing the Governor's and the courts' constitutional authority and taking that authority for itself,” the document reads.

One of the three issues raised in the filing was the governor’s state budget proposal in which he claims the GOP targeted his plans for funding education and the environment.

Cooper pushed back against what he says is the General Assembly’s unconstitutional attempt to dictate what he must include in his proposed budget to fund private school vouchers.

Cooper also challenged other provisions that direct how to spend federal block grants and North Carolina's $87 million initial share of a nationwide emissions settlement with Volkswagen. The lawsuit argues that the funds should be administered by the executive branch, in accordance with either federal law or a federal court.

GOP Senate leader Phil Berger said in a statement to Fox News the governor is asking the courts to anoint him as both executive and the legislature.

“We expect the judiciary will see through his thinly-veiled power grab, follow the constitution and dismiss this frivolous lawsuit,” he said.

Cooper’s filing also blasts the GOP for not respecting the “fundamental principles of representative government and the basic guarantees of the North Carolina Constitution.”

This comes eight months after Cooper initially threatened to sue over Republican bills to limit his power. In December, confrontations escalated once Cooper won the 2016 election by a narrow margin. Republican lawmakers then aimed to protect the conservative state policies and programs aimed to scale back who Cooper could bring into office and erase his ability to shape statewide elections boards.

Cooper’s office didn’t return comment, though his attorney told Fox News they cannot speak further on the governor’s legal filing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Terace Garnier is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Columbia, South Carolina. Follow her on twitter: @TeraceGarnier

Terace Garnier is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Columbia, South Carolina. Follow her on twitter: @TeraceGarnier