Bob Hall on the Black sentence

Statement from Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, regarding the sentencing of former House Speaker Jim Black:

The ugly story of former Speaker Jim Black's abuse of power is not yet finished. New evidence of possible corruption involving a high-powered lobbyist linked to the video-poker industry demands the immediate and full attention of state and federal prosecutors.

From the beginning, Democracy North Carolina has pushed to hold the donors of illegal money accountable, not just the politicians. Now, with the revelation of a $500,000 "loan" from a video-poker lobbyist, we have come full circle from our original complaint in June 2004 alleging a conspiracy by the video-poker industry to funnel illegal donations into Jim Black's campaign. Our complaint prompted the State Board of Elections to obtain the bank records of Jim Black's campaign and, with other investigators, begin to unravel a nasty web of wrongdoing that supported federal subpoenas, hearings, indictments, and state and federal convictions. We congratulate and thank all of these government officials for pursuing this case.

Contrary to the statement of his attorney, Jim Black has not cooperated with federal and state investigators, and his explanation of the $500,000 transaction is far-fetched at best. Some may wish to "put this sad chapter behind us," but too many mysteries remain unsolved, including those involving the money suppliers who participated in, and benefited from, the corruption of Jim Black. Corruption is fundamentally a crime against democracy, against we-the-people and our ability to have honest, fair self-government. It must be rooted out and defeated.

We need to apply firm punishment against wrongdoers, as well as provide incentives that encourage politicians to reject the corrosive money chase. More than four times as much money moved through state legislative campaigns in 2006 as did just a dozen years ago. Too much of that money comes with strings attached, strings that can entangle and bring down well-intentioned leaders. The video-poker industry alone supplied more than $1 million in disclosed money to state elections from 2000 through 2006.

Democracy North Carolina continues to recommend providing candidates with an alternative supply of clean money, attached only to voters' interests and contingent only on candidates satisfying certain public-trust conditions. There is no simple antidote to corruption, but without addressing the root cause by providing a "voter-owned" public financing alternative, we are handicapping our leaders and forsaking our duty as responsible citizens. And we are dooming ourselves to the disappointment of more failed public officials. Before it goes home this year, the General Assembly should strengthen and expand public financing options for the health of our state and our democracy.

Bob Hall, Executive Director
Democracy North Carolina

Comments

Clean money

A lot of folks here have tried to be a part of that clean money supply. I know that's not what he's referring to, but it is what I first thought when I read this. I don't remember one person here saying, "I'll give this amount if she/he'll do that" when they mentioned their donations. I can't recall anyone here asking for a campaign contribution back b/c a candidate didn't comply with their wishes or didn't behave in a prescribed way.

No strings attached is the only way to give. If we don't like the candidate, then we can opt out the next time, but attaching strings to our contributions for any reason sure makes it look like you wanted to be on the paying end of the pay to play.



Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

thank god for

Bob Hall and Democracy North Carolina and all the other unsung heroes who's life, work and passion is keeping our democracy safe for democracy.

A huge

thank you!!!

to them all.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Ditto

there are great organization like Democracy North Carolina, NC Justice, NC Policy Watch, etc., who have been at this a good long while. We owe them all a debt of gratitude and support.

Yes, siree. That's the Ticket there -

Corruption is fundamentally a crime against democracy, against we-the-people and our ability to have honest, fair self-government. It must be rooted out and defeated.

We need to apply firm punishment against wrongdoers, as well as provide incentives that encourage politicians to reject the corrosive money chase.

What our state legislators make is paltry. Compare here:
Dr. Salary

Once upon a time ... perhaps before I was born ... the business of the People wasn't all that difficult, nor was it all that time consuming.

However, the world we used to live in no longer exists. Things move fast and far (even globally!) Our legislators' pay has not kept up with the times...

I've heard it said many times that only the rich or the retired can afford to become legislators. That's partially true - for me, another 13 grand would be a fine pay raise. For others ... not so much.

We expect a lot from our elected officials. The least we can do is help them out. I admire them for not calling for the raises themselves - but then again - if they're all rich - why would they? That's chump change.

Sorta like when you worked in restaurant. The tips were the thing - the paycheck was just a bonus. YMMV.

Clean money is good money

and yes, when I contribute to a cause, I never question it, nor follow up on the orginization to see if they are spending my money in legal ways. I just trust that it is.

With that said, I also do not toss around alot of money. I dont have it to toss!

What brought me here is this article concerning jim black and who he gave money to.

I accept that the people who received this money did not know it was tainted. However, it is now evident that all know its tainted and should do something about it. What? I honestly do not know. Should they give it to charity? Dont really know.

If they spent it for its intended purpose and it is no longer around should they be required to repay it? nope. It would not be fair to them to have to start in the hole on contributions because of what one guy did. But he hurt alot of people with his actions.

Should they come out and discuss this? Hell yes.

Explain what steps are being put in place to insure this never happens in this state again.

Now Is the Time - The Time is Now

Democracy North Carolina has pushed to hold the donors of illegal money accountable, not just the politicians.

There should be no hole deep enough, nor rock large enough to cover the donors who made the corruption possible.

Neither the tempter nor the tempted are blameless. I'll allow it is difficult to remain true with big $$ waving in your face.
Like sin ... it seems harmless at the time ...

...I accept that the people who received this money did not know it was tainted.****

If they spent it for its intended purpose and it is no longer around should they be required to repay it? nope. It would not be fair to them to have to start in the hole on contributions because of what one guy did. But he hurt a lot of people with his actions....

My letter to our legislators earlier this summer:

Dear Legislators,

I understand working together is often difficult and contentious. But I must ask when it comes to the Budget, are you all really
in such a hurry to get home for the summer that you are ALL apparently willing to send our state down the road to
bankruptcy?

Borrow, borrow, borrow is financial suicide for an individual, why would it be any different for the State of North Carolina?

Before you decide I don't "understand", let me assure you I do understand. One issue I intend to take up after this session is over is getting the Representatives a RAISE. Thirteen thousand dollars is the approximate salary I've heard for our legislators in the House.

Well, no wonder you want to get back to your day jobs!

But I do urge you - give our state not just a 'decent' budget but one we can grow on. Any one of you who thinks, 'Yes, a raise would be nice', contact me. I know it would be political suicide for any of you to call for one in lean times - but what if a citizen did it on your behalf?

Think about it. Also, believe me when I tell you, people are watching what you do in Raleigh; 'and he told two friends, and she told two friends', and so on, and so on.

Fiscally yours,

I want to see a sound budget passed for the benefit of the People of North Carolina.

I want to see corruption in any and all forms rooted out, discussed, and put away for all time.

I want our legislators to be responsive to the people they represent. I want equitable pay for their work and justice for We the People.

We the People need to be able to trust those we send to Raleigh (and Washington) to do the people's business in a way the benefits 'We the People'.

Anything less is ...
you fill in the blank ... ya'll have words that fit I'm sure.

How many legislators

answered you back with your request?

Any one of you who thinks, 'Yes, a raise would be nice', contact me.

Did you get any takers?

Right now, I would not endorse any payraise for these guys until they also made a promise to stop hiding. They need to be as close to transperent as possible. They need to work with us. We are the good guys. Include us on the team. You represent us.

I mean, try to get an answer out of Gov. Easley. I have sent him many corrispondances and I have asked him questions. Not one response. Why would I want to do anything for him or a future gov?

OOOO wait, I have not bribed him with any contributions, guess that is why no answer will be coming my way.

more then I thought!

you must bribe them ok! I mean contribute to their pockets, i mean contribute to their reelection campaign.

Oh, I Contribute All Right ....

in ways most people can only dream about.

Like a Force of Nature ...

kinda ...

I know you do! In lots of ways!

And it is terrible that the people you help think so little of you. One of these days, politicians are gonna realize that.

The lobbyists cannot go into a voting both and pull the levers, only constituatants can. We should be listened to above lobbyists.

Are we?