And the river of green is overflowing its banks:
But two years later, the reliance on big donors has gotten worse, and the new Republican leaders in the General Assembly have blocked all campaign reforms, including proposals to require better disclosure of their own fundraising and the millions in mystery money from outside North Carolina.
But where is the outrage? And where is the right's white knight who "led the charge" against public corruption, former State Auditor Les Merritt? Well, he parked his horse after Republicans took charge of the General Assembly, and now he's handling the money of one of those big pay-to-play donors:
Former N.C. State Auditor Les Merritt, a Zebulon CPA, has joined the board of directors of the N.C. Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Merritt will serve as the organization’s treasurer.
Leslie W. (Les) Merritt, Jr. is a partner with Merritt & Hawley, PLLC, a Wake-County-based CPA firm. He served as State Auditor of North Carolina from January 2005 until January 2009 and as executive director of the Foundation for Ethics in Public Service, Inc. from mid-2009 until early 2011.
The only association Merritt should have had with the Alliance is to investigate former Senator Eddie Goodall's blatantly unethical moonlighting as a lobbyist:
That means Goodall is a paid staff member of a group that has as its mission “to enhance the legislative and regulatory environment” for charters. In particular, the group has argued for lifting the 100-school cap on the number of charters allowed in North Carolina, precisely what Goodall’s amendment would have done.
So it is a conflict of interest for a state senator to use the power of elected power on behalf of one of his employer's chief causes?
Goodall said “no” when I asked him:
“No, Mark, I don’t think so. I took the ethics rules there and looked at them very closely, I can’t really recall some of the language there, but clearly I don’t. It wouldn’t impact my compensation. I’m doing the same thing I’ve done for six years in terms of charter schools, everyone knows that.
If you look at those rules…clearly to me, it doesn’t present a conflict.”
He added: “What you really have to ask is does it influence me, does the job have an impact on my compromising my decision here and it certainly does not, nowhere close.”
But if you take a glance at the Alliance's 2010/2011 990 form, you'll see both Merritt's and Goodall's names listed. Merritt for preparing the form after becoming Treasurer, and Goodall for receiving $101,114 as an "Independent Contractor" during the reporting period. And the year before that (2009-2010), Goodall was only compensated $32,700.
After looking at everything, you have to ask yourself: In the eyes of the NC GOP, what would qualify as unethical? Apparently geting paid to put forward bills and amendments is not unethical, and a revolving door is just another door.