republican corruption

More "rats in lifeboats" saved by McCrory

Golden Leaf or golden parachute?

McCrory Chief of Staff Thomas Stith and former state budget director Lee Roberts are joining the Golden LEAF board, an economic development body which oversees distribution of more than $1 billion paid by cigarette companies.

Stith’s wife, Yolanda, was appointed as a commissioner of the state Industrial Commission earlier this month during a special legislative session that also cut back on Democratic Gov.-Elect Roy Cooper’s powers. Stith’s job pays more than $127,000 a year, WRAL reported (http://bit.ly/2hE7Uz3).

Although the Golden Leaf Board itself receives no compensation other than a modest expense reimbursement, the volume of grant money they handle is huge, making them some of the most influential individuals in the state. These are also slots that (by right) should be filled by the incoming Governor, and not the dude the voters kicked out of office. As I mentioned before: They didn't just vote for Roy Cooper, they voted for a Cooper administration. These appointments by McCrory might be legal, but they are also a violation of the public trust, something the GOP has refined to an art form.

Counting the costs of petty tyrants in the NCGA

Killing democracy with a thousand cuts:

The legislature, meeting in a last-minute, year-end special session, approved a proposal along party lines Friday that would effectively give Republicans control of the state Board of Elections during election years. Outgoing Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed the bill into law Friday, despite not issuing any comment on the drama that has been wracking North Carolina politics since Wednesday.

Lawmakers also passed a bill that, for the first time in decades, would require the governor to get approval by the state Senate for his Cabinet appointees and end his ability to appoint members to the board of trustees of the powerful UNC school system. The measure would also drastically reduce the number of state employees the governor can directly hire and fire, from 1,500 to 425.

That last part, about the hiring and firing, can best be described in two words: Invade and entrench. They upped the number to 1,500 for McCrory, so he could insert as many GOP operatives into state government as he pleased. Then they took it away from Cooper, so many of those operatives could stay in place. Which makes this comment by the Bergermeister even more misleading than his usual tripe:

Primer on the 2004 contested election for NC Superintendent

McCrory is not the first Republican sore loser:

Few would have envisioned this moment back in November, when candidate Fletcher challenged candidate Atkinson’s 8,500-vote margin by questioning the legality of 11,000 out-of-precinct provisional ballots cast in the election, enough ballots to draw into question the outcome of the election and perhaps justify a court order for a new election.

The procedure followed by the General Assembly on August 23 was specially designed to fulfill the requirements of a provision of the state constitution that until then had escaped almost everyone’s notice: Article VI, Section 5. It says that a contested election for any of the ten Council of State offices (for the offices involved, see the sidebar on page 44) “shall be determined by joint ballot of both houses of the General Assembly in the manner prescribed by law.”

Bolding mine, because that date tells us many things. First, the General Assembly didn't "rush" into making a decision about this race, it viewed such a decision as a last resort. No doubt they considered her 8,500 vote lead to be strong enough to stand on its own. That date also tells us the lengths that some people are prepared to go in an effort to undermine the will of the people. And the legal actions that took place in 2004 are eerily similar to what Civitas is trying to do now:

Woodhouse's Carolina Rising gets free pass from FEC

Apparently blatantly violating campaign laws is no big deal to Republicans:

Dallas Woodhouse, who ran Carolina Rising in 2014, could not be reached for comment Friday night. He is now the N.C. Republican Party’s executive director. Carolina Rising indicated on its 2014 tax form that its mission was to promote limited government, low taxation and a thriving economy.

After the 2014 election, the Center for Public Integrity found that Carolina Rising ran nearly 4,000 ads praising Republican Thom Tillis in the U.S. Senate race. Tillis defeated Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Center for Responsive Politics published documents showing that Carolina Rising had used 97 percent of its revenue to pay for those ads, and that most of the money, $4.82 million, came from a single donor.

We might as well not even have a body like the FEC, if they can't (or won't) act on something so obviously unlawful. As far as reaching Woodhouse for a comment, he's probably passed out on a couch somewhere, sleeping off another celebratory drunk.

Capitol Broadcasting calls for transparency in vote counts

Keep it clean, and keep it open:

What is important isn’t merely that the votes are counted – but that North Carolina citizens know and feel assured that all votes have been counted accurately and fairly. In that spirit, we call on Gov. McCrory, Attorney General Cooper, the State Board of Elections and the county election offices throughout the state to go the extra mile and provide full and complete transparency in this process.

McCrory, Cooper and the Board of Elections should make any and all communications with local and state officials and agencies, public. The candidates can do this easily by posting them on their campaign websites. The state Board of Elections can do the same.

As I mentioned on another diary, I am genuinely concerned McCrory's army of lawyers and other diehards are going to try to get as many Dem ballots rejected as they can during this process. That could be one ballot at a time, or the wholesale rejection of large numbers of provisional ballots, such as those from Durham County. And the tone of his recruitment message sounds more like a pre-election call-to-arms than merely a request for neutral observers:

McCrory's lawyers withholding evidence until after election

Trying to ensure four more years of corruption and incompetence:

Real Facts v. McCrory, et al. – The Governor’s lawyers agreed to allow WBTV to intervene as a plaintiff in the case about McCrory’s travel records. The Governor’s Office and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety have asserted that they produced all records requested, but most were heavily redacted based on whether they were deemed a personal or political activity or might compromise McCrory’s security. Baddour directed the parties in the lawsuit to confer and attempt to agree on the scope of the issues presented by the case, and he tentatively scheduled a further status conference in the case (and in the other cases) for next week.

Charlotte Observer v. McCrory – The newspaper filed suit Oct. 7 over a request for email messages and other communications related to House Bill 2. The Governor’s Office subsequently produced a large number of records Oct. 17 but nothing since. McCrory’s associate general counsel told Baddour they were reviewing thousands of emails and hoped to produce an additional batch of records early this week. Tadych suggested the office turn over all records already vetted, regardless of a complete review.

I find it extremely frustrating to read about this the night before Election Day, especially considering how many other ethical bullets he's dodged since 2012. :(

Pay-to-play Pat waters his Lending Tree

mccrorynonplussed.jpg

Business as usual for the ethically-challenged Governor:

State officials say LendingTree has received a state grant of nearly $4.9 million and will more than double its presence in North Carolina’s largest city.

McCrory resigned from the board of Tree.com, LendingTree’s corporate parent, after winning the 2012 election, and then later received a six-figure payout while serving as governor. He has insisted he did nothing improper or illegal.

He can "insist" all he wants, but this makes Tammany Hall seem like a bunch of schmucks in comparison. Why is this not leading the news cycle? Here's a clue, waiting until November 9th to dig into this story is not a good idea.

Josh Stein vs Buck Newton: The choice couldn't be more clear

Dedicated public servant vs pay-to-play bigot:

Stein says he is up against millions of dollars in special-interest support for his opponent, Republican state Sen. Buck Newton, 48, of Wilson, who Stein says has the support of payday lenders (Stein helped drive them out of the state) and gambling interests hoping to get a foothold in the state. Newton regrettably has been supportive of conservative and highly questionable and divisive social issues, evidenced by his sponsorship of Senate Bill 2, which exempted magistrates from doing their duty in performing all marriages if they chose not to. Newton is a hard-right conservative who’s focused mainly on attacking Stein and Cooper.

This campaign season has been riddled with vicious attack ads, but the one that stands out the most (to me) is this one: p.s. I know you're getting tired of seeing crap like this, but you gotta know your enemy.

NRA spends $4.5 million to keep Burr in DC

And now we know why Burr resisted the "No Fly, No Buy" effort:

As of Tuesday, the NRA had poured $36.3 million into the 2016 election, breaking its own record of $31.7 million from just two years before, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The blitz cements the NRA’s status as a key cog in Republican electoral efforts.

The NRA has portrayed Clinton as an existential threat to gun rights. The group argues she would nominate Supreme Court justices “who will overturn” the Second Amendment. In down-ballot races, the group has spent $4.5 million on the North Carolina Senate race, about 90 percent of that attacking Democrat Deborah Ross, who is in a tight contest with incumbent Republican Richard Burr.

Apparently being an obstructionist makes you a lot of powerful friends. Unfortunately, many in the "law and order" crowd aren't smart enough to connect the dots between Burr's blocking of judges and justices and his blocking of laws designed to protect us, with that crazy dangerous world they are so afraid of. A Congress that is deadlocked thanks to people like Richard Burr simply can't adapt to developing threats. Which is exactly what the NRA wants, because the fear and uncertainty that results from inaction is great for gun sales.

Republican calls for deregulation should be ignored

Corporations are already out of control:

“You have regulations on top of regulations, and new companies cannot form and old companies are going out of business. And you (Hillary Clinton) want to increase the regulations and make them even worse. I’m going to cut regulations.” Even as Donald Trump’s words were echoing in the Hofstra University auditorium Monday night, outraged members of Congress – Democrats and Republicans -- had been grilling pharmaceutical and banking executives over bilking American consumers.

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