Jerry over at Watauga Watch is keeping an eye on this story:
April 19, 2013: Democracy North Carolina files a formal complaint about the Burns contributions with the SBOE, which at that time still has three Democrats and two Republicans sitting on the board. Democracy North Carolina wants to know if the contributions were made using corporate, rather than personal, funds, and was someone other than the contributor directing who received the money?
April 25, 2013: A majority on the SBOE agree that an investigation of Burns is warranted and is therefore set in motion.
April 26, 2013: Newly elected Gov. Pat McCrory replaces every board member on the SBOE to reflect the results of the 2012 elections: three new Republican members and two new Democratic members. Paul Foley is one of the Republicans appointed. The Burns investigation is already underway.
This is actually in the middle of the timeline, but it's a critical juncture: It's the point where it becomes obvious that Governor McCrory is not only watching, but he's also starting to sweat the outcome, and decides to take some action. And Foley's subsequent and apparently obsessive interest in the investigation strongly suggests the "why" he was chosen for the new board:
September 2014: SBOE staffers, looking through documents from the Florida investigation, discover that Burns has paid Foley’s law firm nearly $1.3 million between 2009 and March 2013, when Burns was arrested and his accounts frozen (including the account used to send the half-million to the North Carolina politicians).
September 29, 2014: Foley recuses himself from the Burns investigation (but not actually). He continues to press Strach and SBOE investigative staffers for details and updates.
As you'll notice, there's a gaping hole in the timeline, some 17 months, to be exact. But in reality, it was a lot longer than that. We should have learned of Foley's behavior in October, when the Attorney General's office was asked to investigate. But nothing was revealed to the media until a few weeks ago. And that is unacceptable.
In case you're wondering why I'm so upset about this particular story, it because BlueNC was the first media entity to expose Chase Burns' attempts to influence NC politicians. When I stumbled across that massive donation to the NC GOP, dropped into their war chest a few days before the 2012 Election, and realized what that money was for (promoting illegal gambling), I thought for sure some corrective actions would be taken quickly. Heads would roll. I was mistaken. And in the years that have followed, this casual disregard for blatant corruption has severely shaken my confidence in both our morality and institutions. It's made me more cynical, something I do not consider a healthy attribute. These are the fruits of an apathetic and ethically-challenged political realm, which is one more very good reason to change it.