Saturday News: Worse than Jim Black


ANONYMOUS LETTER LED TO FBI INVESTIGATION OF TIM MOORE: A former state House member (John Blust) said Tuesday that two FBI agents visited him in early October and talked with him about an anonymous letter that claimed House Speaker Tim Moore engineered legislation favorable to one of Moore’s legal clients. One of those clients was the North Carolina Bail Agents Association, which paid him $10,000 to help the group before the state insurance department in early 2012. The association earns money training bail agents, and contended a competitor did not have the authority to also offer the training. Later that year, state lawmakers passed legislation giving the association exclusive authority. Moore said he no longer represented the association by then, and legislative records show he excused himself from the vote. The letter writer claimed Moore helped engineer passage of the legislation behind the scenes. State judges later threw the law out, finding it set up an unconstitutional monopoly.

MOORE INVITES TRUMP TO DELIVER STATE OF THE UNION AT NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The speaker's office said Moore, R-Cleveland, wrote to Trump two days after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Trump to cancel his address to Congress because of the ongoing partial government shutdown. "The majestic character of our state House chamber and the splendor of North Carolina’s breathtaking landscapes are a fitting venue to deliver your second State of the Union address," Moore wrote. The House chamber features bright red carpet and chandeliers that are, dare we say, one of the president's favorite colors – gold. Kimberly Reynolds, executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, called the invitation "a political stunt" intended to take attention away from Friday's news that FBI agents have reached out to at least two state legislators regarding an anonymous letter targeting the speaker. “He should be using his office to advocate for those hurt by the government shutdown, not push a political stunt," Reynolds said in a statement.

STATE ELECTIONS BOARD READY TO TURN OVER EVIDENCE TO CONGRESS ON NC09: North Carolina's elections director says evidence collected in an investigation into possible fraud in the nation's last undecided congressional race is secure and ready if Congress needs to take a look. State elections board executive director Kim Westbrook Strach said Friday that elections staffers are "working methodically" to complete an investigation into ballot-collection practices in two rural counties in the state's 9th congressional district. Strach responded to a letter last week from the head of the U.S. House Administration Committee asking state officials to preserve original notes, recordings and documents. Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California says the House may also investigate and ultimately determine the rightful winner of the disputed seat.

WOMEN'S MARCH PROCEEDS, AMID CONTROVERSY OVER ACCUSED ANTISEMITISM: The third annual Women’s March is returning to Washington this week amid inclement weather, ideological schisms and the longest government shutdown in American history. This year’s march has also been roiled by an intense ideological debate. In November, Teresa Shook, one of the movement’s founders, publicly accused the four main leaders of the national march organization of anti-Semitism. This accusation was targeted specifically at two primary leaders: Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American with a long history of criticizing Israeli policy, and Tamika Mallory, who has maintained a longstanding association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Shook, a retired attorney from Hawaii, has been credited with sparking the entire movement by creating a Facebook event that went viral and snowballed into the massive Jan. 21, 2017 protest. In a Facebook post, she claimed Sarsour and Mallory, along with fellow organizers Bob Bland and Carmen Perez, had “steered the Movement away from its true course” and called for all four to step down.

TRUMP SAYS HE WILL HAVE MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT SHUTDOWN THIS AFTERNOON: House Democrats have added more than $1 billion in border-related spending to a package of funding bills that would reopen most of the government, even as President Trump said he would have a “major announcement” on Saturday about the border and the shutdown stalemate. Both sides’ actions were the first indications of possible movement over the shutdown after a week of inertia and harsh words between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mr. Trump. That conflict culminated when the president, responding to Ms. Pelosi’s request that he postpone his State of the Union address, announced on Thursday that he would not authorize the use of a military plane to fly her and other members of Congress to Afghanistan to meet with American troops. Ms. Pelosi said Friday she was postponing the trip after the White House leaked her alternative plan to use a commercial airline because she had been advised it was too dangerous.