Kim Strach and the State Board of Elections

James, old boy, you've got this one wrong. Kim Strach is a straight shooting, honest, good government employee of the State Board. Yep, her husband is an active Republican. Board of Elections Chairman Larry Leake, is a Madison County - we'll cut any corners to win an election, Democrat - and Gary Bartlett, Board Supervisor, in his early days was an active member and official of the NC Young Democrats.

Somehow, I don't think they are going to let any employee of the State Board of Elections (controlled by Democrat appointees since 1992) subvert an investigation involving the current democrat governor or any other official. Bev and her campaign, just like Easley's, cut a bunch of corners when it came to reporting the use of private airplanes. McCrory probably did too, he just didn't have as much access or need. The bottom line is that for the most part Bartlett tries to run a straight shop. Strach, and most of the others at the State Board of Elections, ignore politics and try to enforce the election laws. Smack those who deserve to be smacked. But Kim Strach is not one of those.


Why is it so hard

for people in this state to comprehend the basics of conflict of interest? This isn't some rarified, philosophical argument, it's the backbone of ethics.

She's married to a man who works for a man whose main goal is to tear down his opponents. And she is in a position to greatly assist in that goal.

Tune in tomorrow and we'll explore why rain makes you wet.

Kim Strach and the State Board of Elections

The idea that because she is married to Phil Strach, Kim Strach cannot be trusted to perform her job with integrity is utter nonsense. That is tantamount to saying that she is no longer an individual, has no mind of her own, has no sense of ethics and no sense of responsibility because of the fact of her marriage. That so many people are willing to treat this assumption as beyond question is discouraging -- especially on a blog that purports to hold progressive views.

I'd be willing to bet that those of you who have been so quick to say that it's a "no brainer" that Strach is tainted haven't read the report or the accompanying documents. No, you skipped that tedious bit of research and went straight to attacking her integrity. Conclude what you will after doing a little reading, but don't foreclose consideration of the issues based upon the fact of Strach's marriage.

I don't know Scalawag and haven't been on this blog often enough to have a sense of who or what his/her politis are, but he/she is absolutely correct on the injustice of assuming against Strach's honesty while blithely passing over the political make-up of the Board.

All I've said is that there

All I've said is that there is an obvious possibility of conflict and that it should be looked into.

I wrote about that in April of this year.

My opinions have nothing to do with this week's flap, they have to do with the timing of public disclosures by the SBOE and the timing of Tom Fetzer's public statements about those disclosures back in the spring.

You say you haven't been on this blog often enough to know what Scalawag's politics are (why should that matter?), which also means that you haven't been on it enough to know that I have in no way been "blithely passing over the political make up of the Board."

Kim Strach may be as honest as god for all I know. I hope she is.

Kim Strach

No,I haven't been on here much lately, but I read your comments on another blog. They were along the same line -- that the implications of her "sleeping" with Phil Strach was the point to be pursued, not whether or not her report was valid. You have a tendency to knee jerk reactions -- always have, so your contribution there was not new or surprising.

As for why it matters what Scalawag's politics are -- It matters only in the sense that when I was a more frequent visitor I noticed that a lot of regular posters tend to stick to a "team" and see everything through the lens of an agenda. I don't know whether that is true of Scalaway or not -- so I disclosed my lack of awareness as to whether Scalwag had in the past seemed to have an agenda that might color (rightly or wrongly) perception of his/her posts.

Fetzer was obviously very motivated to dissect that thing. Whether he had insights from inside that others didn't -- I don't know. But I do know that Kim Strach would not have given him access to information denied to anyone else. Fetzer was definitely looking, while others weren't.

What's also unfortunate about your zeal to assume malfeasance on Srach's part is that she isn't new on the scene and her relationship to Phil Strach isn't new either. That relationship didn't result in the convictions of Meg Scott Phipps or Jim Black being shrugged aside as tainted work product. Nor(as you can see from the letters posted at WRAL) was her relationship to Phil Strach raised in the investigation until she began asking for specific information from the Perdue campaign.

I guess I'd have more confidence in your point of view

if Republican bad-actors in the gubernatorial election cycle got the same level of scrutiny as Democrats. Accusations were flying both ways, and my recollection is that there was evidence of shady practices on both sides. Fetzer had paid staff working on his behalf and he made plenty of hay.

But then again, unlike you, I don't know what Kim Strach would or wouldn't do ... that's why I'm asking questions. Maybe you can tell us how you know?

The Republican bad actors did get the same level of scrutiny.

If you read the report, you'd know that. Republicans as well as Democrats got smacked. But when you're evaluating who got what, remember to look at who HAD what to start with. Dems have been in power for a long, long time, and it isn't entirely surprising that a certain amount of hubris would accrue on the part of those accustomed to wielding power, calling the shots, and controlling the machinery of state government.

Blithely substitute marriage for political registration

And assume other's reading habits all you will.

There are rules that govern conflicts of interest.

Wonder of wonders... familial relationships are included in those.

Why would that be?

And if you're declaring that we can ignore those now, please do so -- for all cases.


21st Century

By this time I think we ought to be well past the assumption that wives and husbands agree on all issues or that one's marriage is a solid basis for assuming bias. If you FIND bias, perhaps you would be right to say that the marriage might be an influence. But what about examining the product itself? What about suspending the prejudice in favor of actually examining her work?

What the NC Bar has to say

From the rules governing conflicts of interest:

[11] When lawyers representing different clients in the same matter or in substantially related matters are closely related by blood or marriage, there may be a significant risk that client confidences will be revealed and that the lawyer's family relationship will interfere with both loyalty and independent professional judgment. As a result, each client is entitled to know of the existence and implications of the relationship between the lawyers before the lawyer agrees to undertake the representation. Thus, a lawyer related to another lawyer, e.g., as parent, child, sibling or spouse, ordinarily may not represent a client in a matter where that lawyer is representing another party, unless each client gives informed consent.

Pointing out conflicting relationships like this is not "backwards thinking", or sexism, or whatever else you're trying to imply, Bru. It is (as I said above) the basics of determining conflicts.


Yes, each client is entitled to know,and in this case, both parties were well aware of who Kim Strach is and is married to. No objections were raised until Strach asked for something that Perdue's counsel didn't want to hand over. Surely you read your own excerpt. Did you read the report? Did you read the letters posted at WRAL?

Trying to imply? I think I pretty much stated outright that if you think the fact of her marriage is sufficient to dismiss Strach's ability to think and act with integrity, you're definitely living in a century long past.

You didn't simply raise the possibility of a conflict; you assumed its existence.

Yes, I've read the letters

And whether or not Wallace had previously complained about a conflict has no bearing on the actual presence (or absence) of a conflict. That question has absolutely nothing to do with Perdue's attorney, excepting for the fact that he voiced the concern. Strach placing so much emphasis on that argument is akin to saying, "If a lawyer falls over in the woods, and there's nobody there to hear it, did it make any noise?"

Either it is a conflict or it isn't, and I believe that it is. And while you may perceive my belief as stemming from some 19th Century, "subservient wife" mindset, that is merely your perception. And it's wrong. I thought you knew me better than that.

The timing is extremely

The timing is extremely relevant. In fact, I'm surprised you don't notice it yourself. Why, if Strach's marriage were an issue, would that issuen not have been raised at the beginning of the investigation? Why did it only emerge once she reached a certain sensitive point?

And you couldn't be more wrong when you say that it's "either/or." People are people and there are some people for whom it would pose a conflict and others for whom it would not. That's why the Bar Association wants clients to have informed consent instead of determining at the outset that there is no question to be weighed by the affected parties.

Marriages are as different as the individuals who make them. For you to be so very, very certain that there is no question of a conflict is certainly telling as far as your own inclinations are concerned, but that certainty was not shared by the interested parties prior to Strach's latching onto that notebook. Are ya sure you read those letters? Didja notice the dates on the things?

More importantly, have you read the report, and is there anything about it that strikes you as biased against the Democrats?

Oh, for God's sake

certainly telling as far as your own inclinations are concerned

My bias, and I'm sure there is some, is about Republicans, not women. And I think you know that, just as you know that speculating about my "inclinations" will piss me off. Congratulations, you've succeeded.

And no, I haven't read the report, but I will.


Didn't mean to go and do that, Steve, but from where I'm sitting you kinda asked for it when you challenged my challenging your creds when it comes to assumptions about marriage. I sure can't take it back because I think that if you are that danged certain that marriage means a spouse cannot perform his/her work ethically or responsibly because of his/her spouse's particular interest in the subject, then YES, I think you've got a problemo. YES, I think that your certainty means you are bona fide 19th century if not 18th century in your thinking.

What boggles my mind is that you *are* so certain and that you are so sticking to an out-dated concept of what individuals bring to marriage. I like you, Steve, and I like you so much that I don't like the idea of pissing you off, but I am reacting to what you've posted, and, notwithstanding my personal (high) regard for you, I'm calling it as I see it.

(wanna get married?)

Ain't love wunnerful?

Ok, no physical violence. Just verbal slaughter, I promise.

Kim Strach

From the N&O profile of Kim Strach:

"Strach has made up for the lack of investigative resources by working long hours. Though many people read the latest page-turner before going to bed, she props herself up to pore over a stack of papers, trying to find the explanation for contributions and expenses that don't add up."

So what Her husband writes the complaint, she goes after Perdue and ignores the Republicans, she denies the conflict. Whats the problem?


UNfair play

She works hard and well deserves her reputation for intelligence and integrity. If you read a single word of the report, you'd know she didn't ignore Republicans.

Conflicts of interest

Does the fact that Chairman Leake who is a Perdue appointee and a very active democrat including raising money for various gubernatorial candidates over the years, have a conflict of interest in voting on the final decision by the Board? Certainly he has more of a direct conflict than Kim Strach has. There needs to be a consistent standard here.

Political appointees are

Political appointees are political appointees, always will be. Different roles, different standards.

I'm not saying that's right or fair, just that it is what it is.

Leake is just like every other member of the Board

They are appointed by their party -- Republican or Democrat.

Leake is not married to the general counsel of his party -- unlike Kim Strach.

I want a consistent standard too. If we're throwing out family relationships as conflicts of interest, then let's say so.



She's in the disclosure business. When and how was her conflict disclosed?



If her marriage is not a conflict of interest, why would she insert it into the report? Again, you're arguing from an assumption. Some of you would be pretty offended if your marriage were assumed to taint your ability to think, to reason, to maintain your principles or to perform your job responsibly. But on the other hand, for some of you, maybe that would be true.

Again, how about actually looking at the work she did and then hazarding guesses about whether or not it is flawed by bias.


Hey guys, maybe you missed it or it just wasn't a good fit for your storyline about conflict of interest, but Phil Strach resigned his position with the NCGOP back in May. You might want to get your accusations based on facts instead of wants.....

"A point in every direction is the same as no point at all" - Pointless Man

Good gracious!

Now if Tom Fetzer would resign too, the closet would be cleaned out and we could all move ahead with confidence.

That said, this resignation doesn't alleviate concerns in the slightest. We're talking about issues dating back to earlier this year, and Mr. Strach is still a GOP insider in every way.


Pitiful logic, insider, GOP.... Dark and mysterious......... Smoke-filled back rooms..... Oops, that better describes Basnight's office. I'm feeling a little intimidated here. Is that allowed here or does it violate the terms of usage?

"A point in every direction is the same as no point at all" - Pointless Man

pitiful comments

Piper -- Consider the source of the accusation of "pitiful logic" and rest easy.

SCHarrison wrote

SCHarrison wrote above:

Submitted by scharrison on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 10:49pm.

She's married to a man who works for a man whose main goal is to tear down his opponents.

My point was the SCH's post was factually wrong. Phil Strach does not work for "a man" that I would suppose was meant to be Tom Fetzer. Usernamehere, there is nothing wrong with my logic. I did not say anything about any time prior to Phil's resignation. You are the one that made that connection. Faulty logic, how's about a faulty thought process?

"A point in every direction is the same as no point at all" - Pointless Man

Maybe this will take the second time

It was already mentioned once in this very thread that this conflict was raised prior to your given date of Phil's resignation.

I suppose we could fire up teh google, but somehow I doubt linking to facts is going to matter to people who can't grasp that this couple may have had a conflict of interest.



Should we be confident that she will fairly investigate complaints against the NCGOP?


...fairly investigate the GOP?

Come on give it a break. The majority of the SBOE Board is comprised of appointed democrats. The Director of the SBOE is a lifelong democrat activist. Everybody hired at the SBOE since 1993 was hired by these same individuals. Does anybody really think that an investigation of the Republican Party or any of its candidates by the SBOE is going to get swept under the rug or distorted by Kim Strach or any other employee? With Larry Leake watching? With Gary Bartlett watching? With the press occasionally watching? With legal counsel from the Attorney General's office watching. I don't think so.

Scalaway is correct

I sometimese wonder whether some of you who are so anxious to overlook the report itself and focus on Kim Strach's marriage have thought long and hard about these issues in terms of real life instead of cartoon images and exclamation points.

Of course, if I were in those kind of shoes I'd rather focus on the marriage and just keep harping away at it because otherwise, you haven't much to stand on. Certainly not Strach's history, her reputation, or her work.

This I DO know.

Ladies and gentlemen of bluenc, and James, your modern world frightens and confuses me. When I see certain government officials interviewed on television, I think, what is that large object blocking the sun? Is it like the total eclipse I saw from my oceanside villa in Hawaii last year? I don't know, I'm just a cave man. But this I DO know. If Kim Stracht were my client, I would do everything in my power to ensure that she received punitive and compensatory damages amounting to ONE BILLION Frequent Flyer Miles from the Bev Perdue for Governor Campaign. Thank you.


Oh Caveman!

You rock.