republican corruption

HB2's "Severability" clause a shield for discriminating employers

Flying under the legal radar:

Eric Doggett, a Raleigh attorney and chair of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice’s employment law section, said that he doubts that many legislators fully understood the import of the changes, and would not have included it in the law if they had. He said he hoped that the Legislature might reconsider the matter.

A coalition of civil rights organizations has already announced that it will challenge the more prominent aspects of HB2 on constitutional grounds, and Attorney General Roy Cooper has said that he will decline to defend the law in court. The changes to the EEPA are not part of that lawsuit, however, and lawmakers specified in the law that those changes will remain law even if other parts of the law are struck down. Some attorneys expressed concern that the law’s ostensible core might prove short-lived while the employment law provisions survive.

Bolding mine. Many Legislators may not have been aware of the ramifications of HB2, but it's a good bet the ones who crafted the bill were aware. Which is why they included the severability clause. And while I've seen a few GOP apologists say it can be fixed by changing the wording a little bit, I'll believe it when I see it actually happening. But instead of waiting for that unlikely event, *somebody* needs to file a lawsuit specifically targeting that aspect of HB2. If it was an "unintended" consequence of poor bill-drafting (which I seriously doubt), the NCGA will be motivated to fix it to get out from under said lawsuit. But if they did intend to make it much harder for victims of workplace discrimination to get civil justice, they need to be forced to explain that to a judge and jury.

Little Ricky shoots and misses on McCrory's out-of-state donors

"But...but...the Democrats started it!"

"I think generally, you see a lot of people nationally taking note of Governor McCrory's strong leadership in rebuilding North Carolina," Diaz said. He also pointed to a fundraising email Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sent on McCrory's behalf that made reference "liberal media, radical left and big-government labor bosses." Diaz said suggested that "out-of-state special interest money" on the left has helped draw support to McCrory from conservatives around the country.

Dude, McCrory was awash in out-of-state donations in his first (and only) successful Gubernatorial campaign, and that was long before Roy Cooper threw his hat into the ring. And as far as that Scott Walker e-mail you're pointing to, that just happened in December. You know, three months ago. Considering that left only a few weeks in Pat's 4th Quarter reporting period, I think we can safely say that you're an idiot.

Progress NC files complaint against McCrory

A clear violation of campaign finance rules:

In December, Elections Director Kim Strach issued one opinion letter saying that candidates for office in 2016 could not serve as the face of bond advertisements. A second letter, issued less than two weeks later, said that candidates could appear in the advertisements but only if they were filmed at a public event and were not delivering scripted remarks.

The video at the center of the complaint has not aired on broadcast or cable television yet. However, the bond committee is poised to unleash a multimillion-dollar ad blitz in the next three weeks as the primary approaches. In their filing, Progress NC says that it appears McCrory sat down for a well-lit, highly produced interview that appears to violate the guidelines set forth by that second opinion.

This just keeps getting messier and messier, and the time to deal with this ethical quagmire has just about run out. At least for the Bond vote, anyway. If any of you are still sitting on the fence as far as this $2+ billion boondoggle, McCrory's crooning should be enough to snap you back to reality.

McDonnell ruling could affect McCrory's legal fate

Birds of a feather do time together:

The Supreme Court indicated its interest in the case last fall by giving McDonnell, 61, a reprieve from reporting to prison while it considered whether to hear his appeal.

After the Supreme Court’s announcement Friday, McDonnell issued a statement thanking the court for accepting the case. “I am innocent of these crimes and ask the court to reverse these convictions. I maintain my profound confidence in God’s grace to sustain me and my family, and thank my friends and supporters across the country for their faithfulness over these past three years,” he said.

Pretty sure God had a few things to say about Mammon, moneychangers, and of course those thirty pieces of silver. But let's not go there. McDonnell's lawyers are approaching his defense from a few different angles, but most of it revolves around "everybody does it" reasoning. And McCrory is not just sitting in the sidelines watching. The Republican Governors Public Policy Committee, of which our Governor is an influential member, filed this amicus brief in defense of McDonnell:

The bizarro world of Pat McCrory

mccrorynonplussed.jpg

Corrupt, unethical, and completely unfit for public office:

McCrory called the report "a story about nothing" and was critical of both WRAL News' original report and other outlets for following and commenting on it. "This is politics at its worst and journalism at its worst," McCrory said.

He added later, "There are always going to be issues going on with the largest companies in North Carolina. When do you not meet with these companies?"

Jebus cripes. You *do not* meet with these companies when various subordinates in your administration are investigating them for violations of regs and statutes, you do not meet with them days before deciding to sell investment shares in their company, you do not meet with them when their contract with state government is on the rocks and they need help "fixing" the problem, you do not meet with them before deciding whom to appoint to boards or commissions, and you do not meet with them when one of your Departments is about to decide how much work they need to do and dollars they need to spend to clean up their act. You were right when you said this is "politics at its worst," you just should have been standing in front of a mirror when you said it.

Legislative hearing today on McCrory's pay-to-play activities

One day of hearings not nearly enough:

“Gov. McCrory’s enforcement demands were obviously "donor-driven," not data-driven,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “Residents across North Carolina have a right to wonder if their highway safety concerns are ignored because they don’t have a political donor to sponsor their issue and grab the ear of the governor whose policies are influenced by a pay-to-play culture in Raleigh. The Guv Ops Commission should look into donor-driven targeted ticketing, as well as pay-to-play prison contracts.”

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is currently investigating whether McCrory’s administration improperly gave millions in state Medicaid contracts to a company which supported his political campaign, and the FBI is also looking into the prison maintenance contract scandal.

WHO: Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations
WHAT: Public hearing on prison maintenance contracts influenced by governor's political donors.
WHERE: 643 Legislative Office Building, Downtown Raleigh
WHEN: TODAY, 11AM

I doubt anybody will be napping during this hearing...

The SBI's probe of Internet gambling corruption on the horizon

And the stakes are considerable:

The case raises clear concerns about pay-to-play politics, but there are significant other issues. One involved contributions from Chase E. Burns of Oklahoma, owner of a company that developed software for the sweepstakes machines. Burns paid $274,000 in campaign donations to North Carolina candidates and party committees from a trust fund filled with $5 million transferred from his company, International Internet Technologies. Burns’ contributions may have violated laws against direct corporate contributions to candidates, and the money itself was tainted by illegal gambling. Burns was indicted in Florida on racketeering charges and pleaded no contest to a lesser charge.

And once again, the N&O failed to mention the SBI has been moved from the Attorney General's office to answering directly to the Governor. Have McCrory's recent diatribes about being persecuted by the media forced the editorial board into being more circumspect? That conflict of interest is not imaginary, it's very real, and ignoring that conflict won't make it go away. Our Governor has demonstrated a severe lack of understanding when it comes to ethical considerations, and he needs to be put on notice that trying to influence the SBI's investigation results will land him in more hot water.

McCrory administration's lack of integrity lands them in court

Violating public records laws left and right:

“This administration, and particularly the agencies that are within the ambit of the governor’s appointive powers, are just performing abysmally when it comes to complying with the public records law,” said Hugh Stevens, lawyer for a group of eight leading media outlets and public interest groups that sued Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the secretaries of eight Cabinet agencies in July.

McCrory’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment. In July, it said his administration is a “champion of transparency and fair and legitimate news gathering.” But it also said some people are “exploiting the public records law and filing overly-broad and duplicative records requests that gum up the day-to-day operations of state government.”

It's not up to you or your lackeys to decide if a request is "fair and legitimate news gathering," which is a good thing because your childish reactions to stories about your unethical practices prove you don't have a clue about how to differentiate between right and wrong.

White male Republicans dominate political donor list

No big surprise, but it does have a big impact on Democracy:

95 percent of the largest contributors in the state are white. Their contributions amounted to 97 percent of the $4.4 million given. Two-thirds of North Carolina’s biggest donors are male. Of the institute’s Top 10 list, eight are Republicans and two are Democrats.

While groups like the Institute for Southern Studies push for election financing reforms to counter the disproportionate impact of special interest money, the prevailing argument is that that spending money on a candidate or cause is a fundamental right – it is encapsulated in the nation’s protection of free speech.

And therein lies the problem. The Anti-Federalists wanted to curb the powers of the government, not so much to avoid totalitarianism, but to keep the government from reestablishing a class system such as existed under Crown rule. The Bill of Rights was the great "equalizer," and was never meant to give the wealthy undue influence over lawmaking. But their constant and sometimes clever argument of "money=speech" has chipped away at the foundations of equality, leaving us with a Democracy in name only.

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