This week two defamatory mail pieces were sent to voters in North Carolina House District 12, comprising Lenoir County and parts of Pitt County.
The pieces in question falsely claimed that Rep. Humphrey used his position as an elected official “securing $50,000 in taxpayer money to go to a non-profit directly connected to his wife.”
That statement is false.
The $50,000 reference in the advertisement was remitted to the City of Kinston and the City of Kinston, in turn, remitted the funds to the Pride of Kinston, Inc. These funds were allocated to the City of Kinston pursuant to Senate Bill 469 from the 2017-18 session. Senate Bill 469 was passed in 2018, vetoed by Gov. Cooper, and the veto subsequently overridden in December 2018. Rep. Humphrey was elected in November 2018, assuming office in January 2019.
These facts are easily accessible, publicly available information.
The PAC either intentionally published this false and defamatory information or did so with reckless disregard for the truth of the so-called “facts” it has presented to the public in an effort to deceive and pervert the political process and to injure Rep. Humphrey’s re-election prospects.
Not only was Rep. Humphrey not elected at the time, he was not married at the time that S.B. 469 was introduced nor when it became law. Rep. Humphrey’s wife was not even affiliated with the Pride of Kinston, Inc. at those times and her connection to that organization is as an unpaid volunteer.
The advertisement constitutes defamation, per N.C. Gen. Stat. § 163- 274(a)(9), which prohibits any person from publishing or causing to be circulated “derogatory reports with reference to any candidate in any primary or election, knowing such report to be false or in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity, when such report is calculated or intended to affect the chances of such candidate for nomination or election.” Such an offense constitutes a Class 2 Misdemeanor.
We have demanded that the PAC immediately and completely retract this advertisement as specified above, and to cease sending out any of the information including in their defamatory advertisements.
Rep. Chris Humphrey said, “Rather than focus on the businesses struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic and continued shutdowns, this far left group has resorted to pushing outright lies about my character and my record. A full apology and retraction sent to the voters of Lenoir and Pitt Counties is more than warranted.”
House Republican Caucus Director Stephen Wiley said, “The radical left keeps finding new lows, sending clearcut lies to the voters of House District 12. Voters deserve better than to have lies pushed directly into their mailboxes.”