Breaking News: Former legislative aide talks about Holden mystery

By: - April 5, 2011 5:37 pm

Carlton Huffman, a former legislative assistant for state Rep. Jonathan Jordan, is the person behind what’s become the biggest legislative mystery of the session.

Huffman said today that he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong when he anonymously dropped off packets of information  about Gov. William Holden quoting white supremacist historians on the desks of state senators on March 22.

Holden was impeached in 1871 by the state legislature after he stood up to the Ku Klux Klan, and sent the militia into two counties where Klan-related murders had taken place.

State legislators were considering a measure to pardon Holden during this session when the mysterious packets of information showed up, without any clue as to who left them. The vote on Holden’s pardon was delayed.

It became a bit of a legislative “whodunit”  after it was revealed that none of the surveillance cameras trained on the legislative chambers were working when the mystery packets were dropped off.

Huffman’s involvement was first reported via Twitter earlier this afternoon by WRAL’s  Laura Leslie.

Huffman spoke to NC Policy Watch shortly after, and confirmed that he was the one behind the Holden mystery. Huffman said he didn’t know there was a Senate rule that prevented people from anonymously leaving information for legislators.

“I was not aware that there was a Senate rule, it was done completely on my own,” Huffman said. “I’ve apologized to Senator Berger and everyone else involved.”

Huffman’s last day was Friday, April 1, when he submitted his resignation, according to Huffman and the N.C. General Assembly. He had been making $579 a week.

“Historically, I thought the whole story wasn’t told,” Huffman said. “The issue I had with pardoning Gov. Holden was corruption, and corruption alone.”

Some of the information that Huffman left is available on the “Free North Carolina” blog and came from historians supportive of white supremacy groups, according to previous reports from the News & Observer.

Huffman may be familiar to some NC Policy Watch readers. Last month, we wrote about an email he sent pointing out mistakes made in letters Rutherford County school students sent to lawmakers with the  comment, “More great grammar results from the public school system.”

Huffman said he couldn’t speculate as to whether that was a factor in his leaving.

Jordan, a Republican who represents Ashe and Watauga counties, said earlier today he couldn’t comment about the reasons Huffman left his office, but that “he was an excellent legislative assistant.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Sarah Ovaska-Few

Sarah Ovaska-Few, former Investigative Reporter for N.C. Policy Watch for five years, conducted investigations and watchdog reports into issues of statewide importance. Ovaska-Few was also staff writer and reporter for six years with the News & Observer in Raleigh, where she reported on governmental, legal, political and criminal justice issues.