Wednesday News: No more secrets


GOVERNOR THREATENS TO VETO BILL THAT OBSCURES CAMPAIGN FINANCE INVESTIGATIONS: “This bill makes it harder to root out corruption in elections and campaign finance,” Cooper said at a news conference. “It actually provides more protections for politicians and others who violate campaign finance laws. These new provisions can shield wrong-doers by adding broad confidentiality requirements, limiting those who can file complaints, handcuffing investigators on how far back they can look, and requiring a reinvestigation by a second committee before evidence can be turned over to prosecutors. All of these new provisions operate to obscure the truth rather than shine a light on it.” Senate leader Phil Berger said the bill gives Cooper everything he wanted in separate elections and ethics boards and urged Cooper to sign it. Requiring confidentiality of campaign finance investigations is meant to discourage unfounded allegations, Berger told reporters.

BLADEN FORUM SHOWS MANY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT VOTING IRREGULARITIES: Locals worried that elections may have been stolen in Bladen County went to church Tuesday night – literally and figuratively. Frustrated by decades of racial unfairness and seeing its all-too-familiar signs in the current controversy over 9th Congressional District results, more than 200 people packed the First Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Bladenboro. They got preached to, and they responded. They shouted in agreement as organizers railed about stolen votes. They laughed as the state NAACP president bashed Raleigh Republicans as bigots, and they nodded with sadness as he recounted the 2014 death of a local black student, whose case was never concluded satisfactorily for some. But when someone asked for a show of hands from people who believed their votes had been mishandled, there were only a few from the standing-room only crowd. One was from a white Republican worried about a 2010 congressional primary that he lost by more than 5,500 votes.

NORTH CAROLINA COMPANY PROFITS FROM CHINESE SLAVE LABOR AT INTERNMENT CAMPS: The U.S. government said Tuesday that it is reviewing reports of forced labor at a Chinese internment camp where ethnic minorities are sewing clothes that have been shipped to the U.S. market. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that reporting by The Associated Press and other media "for the first time appears to link the internment camps identified in Western China to the importation of goods produced by forced labor by a U.S. company." The AP tracked shipments from a factory in a camp in China's far western Xinjiang region to Badger Sportswear in North Carolina. The company ships clothing to universities, colleges and schools around the United States. Experts and a human rights organization say that possibly as many as 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and others from predominantly Muslim groups are arbitrarily detained in such camps, whose functions range from political indoctrination to forced labor.

SENTENCING POSTPONED FOR MICHAEL FLYNN AFTER JUDGE REBUKES HIM: Lawyers for Flynn, who admitted lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts, requested the delay during the stunning hearing in which U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan told the former Trump aide in a blistering rebuke that "arguably you sold your country out." The postponement gives Flynn a chance to continue cooperating with the government in hopes of staving off prison and proving his value as a witness, including in a foreign lobbying prosecution unsealed this week. But the judge's upbraiding suggested otherwise and made clear that even defendants like Flynn who have cooperated in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation may nonetheless be shadowed by the crimes that brought them into court in the first place. "This is a very serious offense. A high-ranking senior official of the government making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation while on the physical premises of the White House," Sullivan said.

TRUMP FOUNDATION TO BE DISSOLVED AFTER LAWSUIT FINDS ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES: Ms. Underwood’s office sued the Trump Foundation in June, charging it with “improper and extensive political activity, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions, and failure to follow basic fiduciary obligations or to implement even elementary corporate formalities required by law.” Charities are barred from advancing the self-interests of its executives over the charity’s mission, but the attorney general’s office said in a court filing this year that the foundation had entered into a number of “prohibited self-dealing transactions that directly benefited Mr. Trump or entities that he controlled.” The Trump Foundation, for instance, purchased a $10,000 portrait of Mr. Trump that was displayed at one of his golf clubs. The existence of the portrait, along with other examples of questionable spending cited in the lawsuit, was first reported by The Washington Post. One transaction was revealed by a note in Mr. Trump’s handwriting that said $100,000 of Trump Foundation money should be directed to another charity to settle a legal dispute between the Town of Palm Beach and Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.