republican corruption

McCrory's denials getting lamer every day

Miserably failing the smell test:

In a memo from that day, “The meeting began with Gov. McCrory making a few remarks and turning the meeting over to Graeme Keith. “Mr. Keith began his remarks by stating that he had been working on private prison maintenance for 10 years and during that time had given a lot of money to candidates running for public office and it was now time for him to get something in return.”

McCrory denied hearing Keith say that, according to a transcript of his interview with The N&O. McCory said, “My secretary informed me that was said probably while I was in a side conversation and I don’t know if it was said to the whole table or not, but I did not hear it.”

Riiight. You turn the meeting over to your donor buddy, and then immediately strike up a conversation with somebody else. Not bloody likely. That's one of the problems with electing somebody who doesn't see anything wrong with political patronage: They're also too stupid to avoid getting caught. And this explanation from Keith made me bark in laughter:

Meadows clueless on US House rules & regulations

Playing fast and loose with taxpayer dollars:

Rep. Mark Meadows’ decision to give his former chief of staff a lump-sum severance package with taxpayer dollars appears to be a violation of House rules, according to multiple Capitol Hill sources.

Larry Noble, an outside government ethics expert, said congressional staff “can only be paid for work done” or accrued leave, but not severance. “Severance is meant to be a lump-sum payment for work you did not do, (so) no, that would not be appropriate,” Noble said.

So that's HuffPo and Politico covering this issue, and still *crickets* from North Carolina news outlets. Meadows may be in DC, but Kenny West is back here in NC, likely huddled in the mountains looking through a crack in the drapes. Even if all you get is "no comment," at least ask the fricking questions.

Queen Aldona under Federal investigation

Better hold a couple of quick dinner parties to raise funds for lawyer fees:

According to documents provided by DHHS on Friday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker subpoenaed the department for information on more than 30 employees, as well as bidding and payment information for administrative contracts, as part of a criminal investigation. The subpoenas came in late July, about a week before the resignation of former DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos in early August.

DHHS spokeswoman Kendra Gerlach said Wos decided to resign before the subpoenas.

Riiight. She was stuck like a tick on DHHS and wouldn't come off no matter how badly she screwed things up, and we're supposed to believe the timing of her (finally) resigning was just a coincidence? It's apparent Wos' obliviousness rubbed off on her staff during her tenure. I find it particularly ironic to see Art Pope's "public corruption" hit-man Les Merritt being called on the Grand Jury carpet for his $312,000 "personal services" contract:

Tim Moore: Speaker for Cleveland County

Driving back home with a trunk full of pork:

The speaker, a lawyer from the Cleveland County town of Kings Mountain, has slipped some nice items into the state budget now under consideration. There’s the grant for water and sewer infrastructure, to go to towns under 12,000 people. Kings Mountain has 10,000.

Then there’s the $200,000 grant for the American Legion World Series, which has an annual baseball tournament in the Cleveland County seat of Shelby. The region has a long and grand history with American Legion baseball.

He's not just a lawyer "from" Cleveland County, he is the lawyer for Cleveland County. On the payroll, with an employment contract shielded from public scrutiny via personnel records confidentiality rules, or some such nonsense. Why do I say it's nonsense? Because he's currently the most powerful lawmaker in the NC House of Representatives, and we need to know if his County contract encourages him to wield undue influence in his State government position. It ain't rocket science, it's Ethics 101. And he appears to be failing miserably.

McCrory off on another RGA excursion

Adding to his collection of fancy little hotel soap bars:

Three Republican governors will break out their crystal balls Tuesday at The Aspen Institute as part of the McCloskey Speaker Series.

The governors will be discussing “their forward-looking solutions to the issues of health care, the economy, immigration and other areas that are pressing in their states,” says an event description.

If McCrory were forced to take sodium pentothal before going up on stage, he would probably say, "Well, in North Carolina we're hovering on a government shutdown, because instead of hashing out the annual Budget, Republicans in the Legislature have spent their time worrying about possums, protecting Confederate statues and disenfranchising thousands of voters that live in cities which prefer Democrats. Also, I'm pretty sure I shit my pants a little bit approximately twenty minutes ago, but I don't know if it's a stomach bug or that all-you-can-eat breakfast bar the hotel very graciously provides to hungry travelers like myself."

Timeline of the Chase Burns/Paul Foley debacle

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:

McCrory headed to RGA "Corporate Policy Summit"

Another paid-for vacation for the Governor to forget to disclose:

Gov. Pat McCrory will be spending the next three days in Texas at the Republican Governor's Association spring meeting.

If you're wondering why that news brief is so brief don't wonder any longer. The RGA's activities are even more secretive that ALEC's, and their "Corporate Policy Summit" is the tightest-held secret of them all. And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: Corporate lobbyists wining and dining Governors, promising them scads of money for their campaigns, and telling them all the government actions they need to do to acquire that money. And when you're ethically challenged like McCrory, it's like waking up on Christmas morning.

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