Tom Bullock

Reporter

Tom Bullock decided to trade the khaki clad masses and traffic of Washington DC for Charlotte in 2014. Before joining WFAE, Tom spent 15 years working for NPR.  Over that time he served as everything from an intern to senior producer of NPR’s Election Unit.  Tom also spent five years as the senior producer of NPR’s Foreign Desk where he produced and reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon among others.  Tom is looking forward to finally convincing his young daughter, Charlotte, that her new hometown was not, in fact, named after her.

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Local News
3:17 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

SIM International: Third Missionary Has Ebola

The Ebola Virus
Credit Courtesy of the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention

S.I.M. International says a third American serving with the Charlotte-based charity has contracted Ebola.      

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WFAE Talks
5:59 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

WFAE Talks: Film Incentives, Airport Politics, Cowell's Alternative Investments

Credit WFAE

The producers of Cinemax's "Banshee" are moving production from Charlotte to New Orleans. The reason: North Carolina's revised - and much smaller - film industry incentives program isn't competitive.

We'll also discuss the latest in Charlotte airport politics and Tom Bullock's 2-part series that examines how Treasurer Janet Cowell is investing the state's pension fund.

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Local News
2:49 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

TV's 'Banshee' To Leave Charlotte Area

North Carolina Film Office Logo
Credit Courtesy of the North Carolina Film Office

The TV show Banshee will stop filming in and around Charlotte. It looks to be the first casualty of North Carolina’s soon to expire film incentive tax credit.

For all of its three seasons Banshee, a campy show about an ex-con hiding out in an Amish community has called Charlotte home.

HBO, which produces Banshee for Cinemax, its sister network, has no official comment. But cast and crew for the show took to Twitter today to thank Charlotte and surrounding cities for being a good home for the program’s first three seasons.

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Veterans Affairs
9:57 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Obama Says He'll Fix The VA; Veterans Hope Action To Follow

President Barack Obama addresses the American Legion at the Charlotte Convention Center on Tuesday.
Tasnim Shamma

Garrison caps laden with pins are the current uniform of the choice at the Charlotte Convention Center. They are the trademark hats of the American Legion. On Tuesday, delegates at the group’s national convention were addressed by President Barack Obama.

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Veterans Affairs
5:36 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Obama Issues 19 Executive Actions To Help Veterans

President Obama announced he will sign 19 executive actions at the American Legion national convention in Charlotte.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

As expected, President Barack Obama addressed problems in the Department of Veterans Affairs and a number of other issues concerning care for veterans.

He also addressed foreign policy. The president reiterated he will not send soldiers and marines back to Iraq to fight extremists known as the Islamic State.

"American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq. We’ll not allow the United State to be dragged back into another ground war in Iraq. Because ultimately it is up to the Iraqis to bridge their differences and secure themselves." 

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Local News
6:40 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Cowell’s Alternative, Part 2: Conflicts Of Interest Claims And Campaign Donations

Janet Cowell appearing in a 2008 campaign ad.
Credit Via YouTube

The single largest pot of public money in North Carolina is controlled by just one person. The pot is the state’s pension system, worth just over $90 billion. The person is state Treasurer Janet Cowell.

North Carolina is one of just four states where the treasurer has the final say on where and with whom public pension money is invested, though the General Assembly sets guidelines on how much of the fund can be invested in broad categories.

Still, even with that bit of oversight, the power wielded by North Carolina’s treasurer means Wall Street is eager to give out campaign cash in hopes of getting big fees to manage the state’s money.

In part one of this series, we reported on those fees, and the secrecy surrounding alternative investments. For part two we examine potential conflicts of interest with campaign donations, the state treasurer and the Wall Street firms that manage alternatives.

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Local News
4:30 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Cowell’s Alternative, Part 1: High Fees, Secrecy Surround Pension Investments

North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell
Credit Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer

Over the past five years, North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell has been undertaking what she calls "an experiment" with the state's public pension system. It involves moving some $20 billion of retiree money away from traditional stocks and bonds and into complex investments broadly referred to as alternatives.

Over the next two days we will be examining North Carolina's experiment with alternative investments. The returns, the risks and claims of conflicts of interest and campaign cash.

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WFAE Talks
3:18 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

WFAE Talks: Voucher Ruling, Garbage, I-77 Tolls And NCDOT Caginess

WFAE Talks, recorded Aug. 22, 2014.

News Director Greg Collard, education reporter Lisa Miller and Money & Influence reporter Tom Bullock discuss a Wake County judge's ruling against North Carolina's publicly-funded private school voucher program. They also discuss the idea of paying for garbage collection with a per-bag system, and the continuing debate over I-77 toll lanes. In a related matter, Greg reads his frustrating email exchange with a North Carolina Department of Transportation spokeswoman. Plus, Lisa and Tom give previews of upcoming series on the cost of higher education and North Carolina's investment strategy for its pension system.

Local News
4:50 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

State Officials Confirm There Will Be Fewer Teaching Assistants

It’s becoming clear that North Carolina’s state budget is not as advertised by House and Senate leaders. 


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Local News
4:41 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

NC House Tentatively Approves Budget; Governor Says He'll Sign

In a vote of 68 to 46, the House has given its tentative approval of the new state budget. The $21 billion plan also gained the Senate’s approval earlier this morning. As in the Senate, the House debate over the measure got heated.

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