This past March, after the Governor issued guidance that those
experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should distance themselves,
Folwell went into his office even though he himself was experiencing
symptoms after traveling out of state. He seemingly infected several
of his colleagues and potentially others and ended up in the hospital
for days without any clear communication on how decisions in the Department of State Treasurer would be made during a historically volatile period in the markets. Folwell signed on to a letter pressuring Governor Cooper to ease social distancing guidelines before data indicated it was safe to do so. Despite experiencing the disease himself, Folwell pushed to ease restrictions too early, putting North Carolinians lives at risk.
This year, Mako, the company chosen by Folwell, claimed to offer COVID-19 “immunity tests” despite the fact that the FDA had made it clear that the presence of antibodies in a person does not necessarily indicate immunity from the virus. Folwell’s personal connection with the company, particularly with sales representative Grant Fitzgerald, seems to have been a factor in the irresponsible decision as he did not speak with other companies before offering Mako the contract.
Folwell indicated he chose Mako for the testing contract after seeing Grant Fitzgerald, a sales representative for the company, at a Rotary Club gathering. The Fitzgerald family has a strong political voice, Tami Fitzgerald (Grant’s mother) leads a group that opposes abortion and gay marriage. Her daughter, Paige worked as an aide for Folwell when he was a state legislator and is married to former NC Senator Chad Barefoot who is now an advisor at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank. Chad Price, CEO of Mako, has a history of lying about his qualifications, poor management of his company and Republican political donations.
A long-time partisan legislator, since becoming State Treasurer Folwell has been shredding the credibility and effectiveness of a department that has long drawn bipartisan praise.