David Lewis, chairman of the state House Select Committee on Redistricting, responds to questions about whether Republicans have maps drawn that have not been shared with the public. Anne Blythe ablythe@newsobserver.com
David Lewis, chairman of the state House Select Committee on Redistricting, responds to questions about whether Republicans have maps drawn that have not been shared with the public. Anne Blythe ablythe@newsobserver.com

Under the Dome

Your inside source on North Carolina politics and government

Under the Dome

Here’s how much the GOP’s redistricting consultant is getting paid

By Colin Campbell

ccampbell@ncinsider.com

August 08, 2017 05:11 PM

UPDATED August 08, 2017 06:14 PM

The consultant hired to redraw state legislative districts for Republican House and Senate leaders will be paid $50,000 for his services, according to a contract released Tuesday.

Tom Hofeller, who has helped the GOP draw favorable district lines in multiple states, also drew North Carolina’s legislative maps in 2011. A panel of federal judges ruled those maps to be unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling, the panel ordered the legislature to redraw districts by Sept. 1.

The new contract with Hofeller is dated June 27 and calls for him to receive a flat fee of $50,000 “to allow us and you to better predict the cost of this engagement.” A staff attorney for Senate leader Phil Berger released the contract Tuesday in response to a public records request from the N.C. Insider and The News & Observer.

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“We require your professional assistance,” legislative leaders wrote in the contract. “The General Assembly will be drawing new legislative redistricting maps to include both House and Senate districts pursuant to an order from a federal district court. Based on your knowledge and experience, we believe you are best qualified to produce such maps.”

The contract calls for Hofeller to draw House and Senate maps that comply “with criteria adopted by the House and Senate Redistricting Committees.” That criteria is expected to be discussed during a committee meeting Thursday morning.

Hofeller’s work, the contract says, will be “subject to legislative confidentiality,” but documents produced will become public records once the new district plan becomes law.

'We are done with your pettiness'

James Wood, a 19-year-old Raleigh resident, shook his finger at legislators on Friday Aug. 4, 2017, during a joint committee of the N.C. state House and Senate select redistricting committee. He urged the lawmakers to draw fair maps to correct 28 districts found by the federal court to be unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore have authorized Democratic leaders in the legislature to spend up to $50,000 to hire their own redistricting consultants and produce alternative maps.

Hofeller had a similar contract in 2016 to redraw congressional district maps, but he was paid $25,000 for the less complicated task of redrawing 13 districts. He was also paid $5,400 in April for 18 hours of work preparing materials for Republicans in the redistricting lawsuit, a rate of $300 per hour.

Hofeller was profiled in The Atlantic magazine in 2012 in an article titled “The League of Dangerous Mapmakers.”

Gerrymandering is addressed by crowd on Bicentennial Mall in Raleigh as Legislature meets across the street.

Ruthy Jones, of Durham, is one of several speakers to crowd of over 200 supporters in rally sponsored by Common Cause.

Chuck Liddy cliddy@newsobserver.com

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter