republican corruption

With Burr, it's either "do nothing" or pay-to-play politics

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Brings new meaning to the term, "Open For Business":

Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, Loews Corp. Waste Management Inc., Transocean Ltd., and Nucor Corp. are all companies that Burr held stock in while these companies were lobbying for several energy and regulatory bills being debated in Congress that Burr cosponsored. Combined, these six companies spent over $42 million lobbying Congress and the federal Government over the same time period.

Four of these companies - Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, Loews Corp., and Waste Management Inc. - also contributed $22,500 to Burr’s PAC’s between 2010 and 2016. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the oil and gas industry alone has donated over $380,000 to Burr’s PACs between 2003 and 2016.

And now the fossil fuel industry, thanks to the horrifically un-Democratic Citizens United decision, is once again coming to Burr's rescue with an $8+ million ad buy. Which begs (on hands and knees) the question: How can NC voters bring themselves to vote for a man who has so blatantly sold himself to special interests?

The Elevator Queen of quid-pro-quo

Cherie Berry has some questions to answer:

He pointed to contributions totaling $10,000 from Ronald Cameron, the chairman and CEO of Mountaire Farms, a large poultry producer based in Delaware. Mountaire Farms has had a previous workplace death and had three open cases before the labor department earlier this year, Meeker noted.

Cameron, who lives in Arkansas, was Berry’s largest contributor, Meeker said. Executives for Mountaire did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday afternoon. “This is not right,” Meeker said. “North Carolina citizens deserve better from our public officials.”

The lack of ethics among GOP elected officials is astounding. And their lame denials all seem to be written by the same incompetent fool:

Meadows in hot water with Congressional Ethics panel

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The hush-money payoff that wouldn't go away:

A congressional ethics panel said there is “substantial reason to believe” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), broke House rules by paying his departed chief of staff a three-month severance package in 2015. Meadows has denied any wrongdoing, arguing through a lawyer that he acted in good faith, even if it turns out he broke the rules.

The OCE pointed out in its report that Meadows had not cooperated with their investigation. In May 2016 letter to House Ethics Committee leaders, Meadows’s attorney said he had opted not to engage in the “duplicative, costly and burdensome process” of the OCE review since the Ethics Committee “is the ultimate arbiter of compliance with House Rules and Standards of Conduct.”

Methinks Tea Party Mark doesn't understand the meaning of "good faith." It doesn't just mean you thought you were doing right, it also means you are willing to cooperate with investigators and disclose to them anything that might be relevant. The next logical step for the House Ethics Committee is to subpoena (if they have that authority) Kenny West, to find out a) what work he actually accomplished during that extended period, and b) what juicy information he was holding over Meadows' head (blackmail) that would force the Congressman to break rules over:

Apodaca the latest to traverse NC's unethical revolving door

Anticipating the pot of gold at the end of the unimpressive legislative career:

Powerful Senate Rules Chair Tom Apodaca announced his resignation from the Senate Friday morning but it wasn’t much of a surprise and he will likely be back in Raleigh soon enough. Rumors surfaced recently that Apodaca was interested in becoming a lobbyist and would resign this month so he’d be able to lobby his former colleagues when the 2017 session begins in January.

State law requires a six month cooling off period before legislators can register to lobby and it’s become more common for lawmakers interested in cashing in to resign halfway through the second year of their term so they can lobby in the next session.

One of the lesser-used definitions of "Corruption" deals with biological necrosis; decay and putrefaction. But it was also the etymological origin of the other, more common usages, because this behavior tends to spread throughout a political organism just like a biological one. Why are retired Legislators so successful at lobbying? Because many current Legislators are eyeing that as a future career option, and helping their former colleagues is an easy way to help themselves a few years down the road. As long as they are effective, those jobs will be waiting for others. This is the crux of the ethical conflict; the perpetuation of undue influence over public policy by private-sector players. And until that revolving door is locked, the cycle of corruption will continue.

More local shenanigans via NC Senate Republicans

Wesley Meredith is out of control:

Last September, the state House squelched controversial legislation that would have yanked about $5.5 million of hotel tax money away from the Cumberland County Tourism Development Authority and given it to the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners. Late this week, in the waning days of the 2016 session of the General Assembly, the hotel tax legislation came back to life in the state Senate, much to the surprise and consternation of some officials in Cumberland County.

Now Meredith is trying again to pass the legislation. He refused to discuss the bill late Friday. "I don't have any comment," he said.

Well, there you go. Apparently what Meredith does in his capacity as a public official is nobody's business but his own.

Pittenger not out of the woods yet

I had a feeling this would happen:

In a letter delivered Wednesday to the N.C. Board of Elections, Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris formally requested a recount in the primary election to become the GOP nominee in North Carolina’s 9th District. Harris, a Charlotte pastor, trailed U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, the incumbent, by less than 1 percent in the unofficial vote totals reported on Election Day last week.

Official canvass results reported Tuesday by the eight counties in the 9th Congressional District put Pittenger ahead by 135 votes. That’s seven votes fewer than the 142-vote margin he had Election Day.

With all the weird stuff going on with provisional ballots, 135 votes is not a great stretch to overcome. That being said, I'm not a big Mark Harris fan. There are way too many bible-thumpers in Congress already, and the last thing they need is another Pastor to render grand oratories.

Keep an eye on RSLC spending in NC's Supreme Court race

It's bound to be at the top of their list of priorities:

The RSLC is funded almost entirely by corporations, including West Virginia Coal Association members Alliance Coal of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which gave $70,000 between 2010 and 2012; Alpha Natural Resources of Abingdon, Virginia, which gave $54,000 since 2012, including $10,000 in June of last year; and Consol Energy of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, which has given $315,000 since 2010.

According to state campaign finance records, the RLSC spent more than $2.6 million either supporting Walker or attacking her opponents. The RSLC spent $3.4 million on state supreme court races in four states and a local court contest in another during the 2013-14 election cycle, and it has already matched that amount this cycle.

If this process was taking place in almost anywhere other than an election, it would be ripe for a RICO investigation. If the mention of the RSLC seems to ring a bell, it should. They are the same group that spent $1.3 million supporting both of Robin Hudson's opponents, while also attacking her:

Another victim of McCrory's patronage and lack of common sense

Sleepy truckers and a severe shortage of legal parking spots is a deadly combination:

The driver of a rig that crashed and spilled 50,000 pounds of potatoes onto Interstate 77 early Friday told troopers he was sleepy but decided to keep driving because he’d heard of truckers being ticketed for parking along the roadside to rest in North Carolina, Trooper John Burgin said.

The new enforcement effort was sparked by complaints to Gov. Pat McCrory from a longtime political supporter: Charlie Shelton, a business executive, Republican fundraiser and former state Board of Transportation member who lives in Surry County, the newspaper reported. Surry is nearly 90 miles north of Charlotte.

Trust me when I say, some nights parking is so scarce you feel like a lottery winner when you find a slot at a rest or truck stop. And this isn't just a problem for long-haul truckers; everybody on the road is put at risk thanks to this stupid move on McCrory's part.

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