A Man in a Hurry Who Backs Terrorists

Habilian Association
Thomas Roland Tillis (born August 30, 1960) is an American politician and businessman who is the junior United States Senator from North Carolina. He served as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives from Mecklenburg County, and Speaker of the House and was also the Republican Party's nominee for the 2014 U.S. Senate election in North Carolina, defeating Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan. Tillis serves on the Committee on Armed Services; the Committee on Veterans Affairs; the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; the Special Committee on Aging; and the Committee on the Judiciary. [1]
A man in a hurry
Thom Tillis is a man in a hurry. He went from city councilor to North Carolina House speaker in just five years. Four months into his second term as speaker, he was running for U.S. Senate. The man who would hand the Republicans control of the Senate has been a lot of things in a short amount of time. And while he seems to know where he’s going, it’s less clear that he knows what he’ll do once he gets there.
Tillis started his political career as a city councilor in Cornelius, a wealthy suburb of Charlotte. In 2006, after a single term, he upset a Republican incumbent in a primary for a state House seat. Like all freshmen, Tillis arrived in Raleigh as a backbencher, but he quickly impressed his Republican colleagues, who chose him freshman leader. In just his second term, he joined the House GOP leadership as minority whip.
Despite the drubbing Republicans took in North Carolina in 2008, Tillis saw an opportunity and took a gamble. In 2009, he left his job as a $500,000-a-year business consultant and worked tirelessly in the 2010 election to recruit and elect GOP candidates. Safe in his own seat, Tillis crisscrossed the state helping House candidates organize and raise money. The bet paid off when Republicans won control of the House in the 2010 landslide. Tillis impressed enough members and accrued enough favors that he was narrowly chosen speaker over House Minority Leader Skip Stam, a six-term veteran. The more socially conservative Stam became majority leader.
The 2011 session of the legislature marked the first time in North Carolina in more than a century that Republicans controlled both houses of the General Assembly. Tillis arrived with ambition and a pocket full of political IOUs but few legislative accomplishments. And while previous speakers, both Democrat and Republican, brought years of experience and relationships to the job, Tillis had only two terms in the House and one in the GOP leadership. [2]
As the leader of an unpopular state legislature that shifted hard to the right in 2013, Tillis sparked a protest movement and national outrage over his steep budget cuts to social services and harsh restrictions on abortions. In 2011, he told a crowd he planned to “divide and conquer” people who received government assistance and subject them to drug tests. The state’s voter ID law, passed with Tillis’ support, is among the nation’s strictest. The legislature even banned state scientists from calculating sea level rise—just in case. [3]
Targeting lobbyists for campaign contributions despite legal prohibition
Tillis’ campaign sent fundraising solicitations to lobbyists, despite a prohibition against lobbyists donating to candidates. “Political fundraising requests continue to flood the in-boxes of North Carolina lobbyists, despite state campaign finance laws that make such donations illegal. At least one lobbyist recently got this email from House Speaker Thom Tillis’ campaign, asking for $4,000 contributions by Sept. 14. At the bottom, a disclaimer says the campaign can’t take money from lobbyists, but it asks them to ‘pass the information along to any interested parties and recommend support where appropriate.’ […] Under reforms passed in the 2006-07 legislative session, lobbyists cannot donate to or collect checks for campaigns themselves. But they can still advise their clients’ political action committees to do so.” [4]
Protecting dirty persons
A report in the News & Observer story from April 2012 that questioned Charles Thomas, Tillis’ chief of staff, about an extramarital affair with a lobbyist from the home builders association. Thomas, a former Asheville lawmaker, immediately resigned. So what does Tillis do? He hires another whore of ill repute and then paid the whores.  Tillis and Thomas shared an apartment in Raleigh, but Tillis said he knew nothing about the affair. The speaker later gave Thomas and another staffer, Amy Hobbs, who also resigned for an inappropriate relationship with a lobbyist, a combined $19,333 as severance pay. At the time, Tillis defended the payments as part of the “human side” that takes into account the families affected. [5]
Increasing employee salaries in budget deficit
On its Saturday, June 11, 2011 front page, The News & Observer boldly called out the North Carolina Republican Speaker of the House Thom Tillis for giving outrageous pay hikes to half of his staff, some as high as 27%. This comes at a time when the budget is being slashed with draconian relish by the power-mongering Republican Party. It is also at the expense of many Tar Heelians who are unemployed and living on the fringes barely able to survive and who are dependent on the services and programs that are being downsized or eliminated.
According to the article, Tillis’ general counsel Jason Kay received the 27% pay raise bringing his annual salary from $110,000 to $140,000. That’s a $30,000 raise during an economic downturn in which the state’s unemployment rate is at its highest… in large measure thanks to the recently Republican veto-overridden budget which counted many of its victims as state employees whose jobs were shelved. Not only that, but according to Dana Cope of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, the last time most state workers received a raise was three years ago due to the recession, and any raises that were authorized never even approached 27%.
Another benefactor of Speaker Tillis’ largess was Chief of Staff Charles Thomas whose annual pay was bumped by $30,000, too… from $120,000 to $150,000. Two other noticeable pay hikes mentioned in the article went to Christopher Hayes and Amy Hobbs, both of whom were hired in January 2011 as policy advisers at a salary of $70,000, and within six months saw their yearly income balloon to $82,000.
Thom Tillis, who is quite talented when it comes to obfuscation, stated that the initial $70,000 salary the new hires received was probationary and that they would get more money if they performed well. In other words, according to Speaker Tillis, if the new hires did not perform well, they would not get a raise. That just doesn’t make sense. In most business models if new employees do not perform well during the probationary period, they’re fired. This is the typical type of Republican double-speak that I find insulting. But the speaker believes that most Tar Heelians are stupid.
Prior to April 2011, Tillis had a fourteen-person staff, and in all, seven of them, including the aforementioned, received raises. Information about the other three who received raises was not presented in the article. Then, in May 2011, amid firings, layoffs, Thom Tillis hired another person to join his staff at a salary of $70,000. The position title was not mentioned, nor was there any clarification as to whether or not the $70,000 amount was probationary.
Not long ago, in January, Tillis boasted that his office payroll would be 17% lower than his predecessor Joe Hackney by hiring fewer people and lowering salaries. However, actions speak louder than words, and as it turns out, Tillis’ payroll is ten percent higher and his staff is larger than Hackney. This hypocrisy when it comes to pay for the staff of the legislative leader is not restricted to a single party. According to Cope, Tillis and others “always find a way to give their staff members higher salaries and pay raises than the rest of state government.” [6]
Opposition with formal apology to blacks for historical slaughter
In 1898, furious that a mixed-race coalition had swept the city’s municipal elections, white supremacists burned down a black-owned newspaper in Wilmington, North Carolina; overthrew the local government; and killed at least 25 black residents in a week of rioting. It was one of the worst single incidents of racially motivated violence in American history. [7] But in 2007, when a nonpartisan commission recommended that the state legislature pass a resolution formally apologizing for the massacre, Republican Senate nominee Thom Tillis, then a first-term state representative, rose to block it. “It is time to move on,” he wrote in a message to constituents. “In supporting the apology for slavery, most members felt it was an opportunity to recognize a past wrong and move on to pressing matters facing our State. HB 751 and others in the pipeline are redundant and they are consuming time and attention that should be dedicated to addressing education, transportation, and immigration problems plaguing this State.” [8]
Worry about growing number of immigrant voters
North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis referring to a “growing” number of African-American, Latino and “other immigrant” voters, and the problem this is causing for Republican politicians, since, as he put it, "the traditional population of North Carolina and the United States" isn’t growing at the same rate. The traditional population of North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable. It’s not growing. The African American population is roughly growing but the Hispanic population and the other immigrant populations are growing in significant numbers. We’ve got to resonate with those future voters. [9]
Giving tax breaks to North Carolina's yacht and jet owners
A Senate Majority PAC ad said, "Thom Tillis gives tax breaks to yacht and jet owners." North Carolina lawmakers, under Tillis’ leadership, overhauled the state’s tax code in 2013. But they left in place a 23-year-old tax break for boats and aircraft. By using the word "give," the statement suggests Tillis created the tax breaks, which he didn’t. [10]
Approving conservative laws
In 2013, the North Carolina government received national attention for a wave of conservative legislation. The Republican-dominated General Assembly -- with Tillis as speaker of the House -- passed laws increasing voter ID requirements, lowering business regulations, upping restrictions on abortion providers, tightening education spending, trimming unemployment benefits and changing the tax code.
In another fact-check, we found that the controversial tax code changes reduced taxes for everyone -- but much more for wealthier people than lower-income people.
Most recently, we heard it in an ad from Senate Majority PAC, a liberal political action committee.
"When it comes to education, Thom Tillis is gambling with our future," the ad’s narration says. "As speaker, he cut nearly $500 million from education, eliminating 9,000 teaching positions and overcrowding classrooms. Now he’s promising more lottery money for education? We’ve heard that broken promise before. Meanwhile, Tillis gives tax breaks for yacht and private jet owners." [11]
Appointing financial supports to the UNC Board of Governors
Tillis Appointed W.G. Champion Mitchell, R. Doyle Parrish, And George A. Sywassink to The UNC Board of Governors, And They All Donated At Least $20,000 To His Super PAC. “W.G. Champion Mitchell said his $25,000 contribution had nothing to do with his recent appointment to the university’s governing board. […] R. Doyle Parrish, a Raleigh hotel and restaurant owner, was the only registered Democrat whom Tillis appointed to the UNC board. Parrish, who is also on the super PAC board, gave $20,000, according to federal campaign finance reports made public this week. Tillis appointed Mitchell, Parrish and six others March 20. The next day, House Republicans announced there had been a vote tallying error and removed James Nance of Albemarle, replacing him with George A. Sywassink of Hilton Head, S.C. Sywassink owns Standard Holding Co., which owns a Charlotte-based commercial freight company. The company contributed $25,000 to Tillis’ super PAC. State campaigns cannot accept corporate contributions, while super PACs can.” [12]
Repeatedly leaving of the legislative session to raise money for his U.S. Senate campaign
Tillis left the House Floor for a campaign fundraiser, “moments” before lawmakers began debating a “contentious” Bill. “Moments before the N.C. House began debating a contentious abortion-related bill last week, Speaker Thom Tillis exited for the campaign trail. The leading Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate traveled to Charlotte for a campaign fundraiser where donors paid as much as $2,600 to meet him.” [13]
According to Charlotte Observer Editorial, “Tillis Has Missed Important Legislative Debate” And “Important House Business” To “Chase Campaign Cash.” “North Carolina’s House of Representatives took action on 36 bills Wednesday. They included a package of tax cuts totaling more than $2.4 billion over the next five years, a controversial resolution on guns and important legislation affecting businesses hiring illegal immigrants. The Speaker of the House, Rep. Thom Tillis of Cornelius, missed it all. He was 263 miles away, in Washington, D.C., raising money for his budding U.S. Senate campaign. Two lobbyists hosted a fundraiser for Tillis at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, where attendees were asked to give up to the legal maximum of $2,600 each. An industry lobbying group called America’s Health Insurance Plans scheduled another event for Tillis Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol Hill Club. Tillis also missed part of Tuesday’s House session. And it is not the first time Tillis has missed important legislative debate so that he could chase campaign cash. […] Besides missing important House business, Tillis’ moonlighting has the look of the pay-to-play politics that Republicans decried among Democrats for so long.” [14]
Taking thousands in sweepstakes money
In 2013 Charlotte Observer Disclosed in a report that the Sweepstakes Industry Has Donated $700,000 To North Carolina Political Candidates, with “Tillis Receiving the Most Money – About $127,000.” “Sweepstakes operators, seeking legislation that would legalize their outlawed industry, have flexed their political muscle over the past three years, contributing as much money to N.C. candidates as large utilities. More than $700,000 in campaign contributions flooded the coffers of N.C. candidates since the beginning of 2010, according to data compiled by the watchdog group Democracy North Carolina. The most powerful players topped the list, with House Speaker Thom Tillis receiving the most money – about $127,000 – followed by Gov. Pat McCrory and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, according to an analysis of the data by the Observer and the (Raleigh) News & Observer.” [15]
Tillis’ “right hand man” in prison
former rep. stephen laroque, who described himself as tillis’ “right hand man” in the state legislature, resigned his seat after being indicted for stealing.  laroque was found guilty of 12 criminal counts and faces 90 years in prison for allegedly using taxpayers’ dollars from two non-profits to finance a lavish lifestyle for himself and his family. [16]
According to Raleigh News & Observer, in Front of a Jury, LaRoque Claimed He Was Tillis’ “Right Hand Man” In The State Legislature, And Admitted That the House Rules Committee Manipulated Legislative Rules. “Former Republican State Rep. Stephen LaRoque took the stand in his defense Tuesday to admit he made mistakes but did not steal from the charities that received federal grant money. […] LaRoque, in explaining to jurors the House Rules Committee that he co-chaired, said he was Tillis’ ‘right-hand man’ in the state legislature and the Rules Committee made sure rules were followed, but also manipulated legislative rules. ‘Were you good at manipulating rules, sir?’ Duffy asked. ‘I wasn’t, but I saw that other people did,’ LaRoque said. He added, ‘It’s politics.’” [17]


Travel to Albania and meet with Rajavi
On August 12, 2017 Tillis travelled to Tirana, the capital of Albania to meet Maryam Rajavi, the head of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization. Tillis was accompanied in this trip with Senator Roy Blunt, Vice President of the Republican Conference, and member of the Appropriation, Select Intelligence, Rules and Administration, and Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees; and senator John Cornyn, the Majority Whip, and a member of the Judiciary, Select Intelligence, and Finance committees.
During the meeting, Rajavi expressed her gratitude for the tireless efforts of the U.S. Senate, particularly Senator Blunt, regarding the protection of thousands of MKO members in Iraq, and their safe relocation to Albania.
During the meeting with the American lawmakers, Rajavi welcomed Washington’s hostile approach toward Iran, especially the imposition of new sanctions and called for "regime change" in the Islamic Republic.
Tirana, Albania, August 12, 2017 – Maryam Rajavi (left), meeting a senior delegation from the United States Senate. The two sides discussed the situation of members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq in Albania and the recent developments in Iran and the Middle East.
Earlier in April, Senator McCain, a long supporter of the Iranian opposition and a staunch critic of Tehran’s policies, also visited the MKO in Albania and met with Rajavi. [18]
Saturday’s high-profile visit by the senior U.S. Senators comes at a time when Washington has slapped major new sanctions against Iran for its ballistic missile drive, support for terrorism and human rights violations.
The MKO is the most hated terrorist group among the Iranians because of its dark history of assassinations and bombings and for siding with the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s.
The MKO fled Iran in 1986 for Iraq and was given a camp by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. It fought on the side of Saddam in the Iraqi imposed war on Iran during which the former Iraqi dictator used chemical weapons against Iranian civilians and military on a massive scale. The notorious group is also responsible for killing more than 17,000 Iranians in different acts of terrorism, including bombings in public
Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist assaults since the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.
However, the terror group once had a presence in the United States and maintains offices in Europe.
The MKO was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union in 1997 and 2002 respectively, but as more efforts got directed to vilify Iran, the MKO got delisted by the EU on January 26, 2009 and by the U.S. on September 28, 2012.
After Washington formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations, the group became able to have its assets under the U.S. jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with the American entities. A number of U.S. officials received hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for speaking on MKO’s behalf ever since.
However, American officials are not the only ones receiving money from the MKO in exchange for political support. On July 9, 2016, former Saudi intelligence chief and former Saudi ambassador to Britain and the United States Prince Turki al-Faisal Al Saud spoke for 30 minutes before a crowd in Paris, France, for the annual conference of the MKO.

Sources:
[1] http://www.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/multiple_thomas_r_tillises
[2] What Does Thom Tillis Want?, The Atlantic, Sep 29, 2014, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/09/what-does-thom-tillis-want/380749/
[3] Thom Tillis Wins North Carolina Senate Primary, motherjones, May. 7, 2014, www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/thom-tillis-greg-brannon-north-carolina/
[4] wral.com, Despite laws, NC legislators still ask lobbyists for money, August 21, 2012, http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/story/11453437/
[5] Super PAC ad hits Tillis on sex scandal, newsobserver, April 16, 2014, www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article10322390.html
 [6]justice4nifong.blogspot.in, July 5, 2011, justice4nifong.blogspot.in/2011/07/gop-speaker-thom-tillis-caught-with.html
[7]  John DeSantis, "Wilmington, N.C., Revisits a Bloody 1898 Day", The New York Times, pp. 1 and 33, 4 June 2006, accessed 23 August 201
[8] This Republican Tried To Stop North Carolina From Apologizing For A Racist Massacre. He’d Like Your Vote, Please, motherjones, Sep. 16, 2014, www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/thom-tillis-wilmington-blocked-apology-racial-massacre/
[9] Daniel Strauss, NC GOPer: Unlike Blacks Or Hispanics, 'Traditional' Population Isn't Growing (VIDEO), Talking Points Memo, June 17, 2014
[10] Ad says Senate candidate Thom Tillis gave tax breaks to North Carolina's yacht and jet owners, August 26th, 2014, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/aug/26/senate-majority-pac/ad-says-senate-candidate-thom-tillis-gave-tax-brea/
[11] Ad says Senate candidate Thom Tillis gave tax breaks to North Carolina's yacht and jet owners, August 26th, 2014, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/aug/26/senate-majority-pac/ad-says-senate-candidate-thom-tillis-gave-tax-brea/
[12] Raleigh News & Observer, 7/17/13
[13] Charlotte Observer, 6/29/13
[14] Editorial, Charlotte Observer, 7/18/13                                                                               
[15] Charlotte Observer, 6/15/13                                       
[16] NC Policy Watch, 6/5/13
[17] Raleigh News & Observer, Under the Dome, 6/5/13
[18] Senior US Senators Meet Iran Opposition Leader in Albania, huffingtonpost, Aug 16, 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/senior-us-senators-meet-iranian-opposition-leader-in_us_598f68fae4b063e2ae058020
[19] Clifton, Eli, Tom Cotton Allies Himself with the MEK, LobeLog, May 6th, 2015, http://lobelog.com/tom-cotton-allies-himself-with-the-mek/


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