Since the news broke today about lobbyist Don Beason's lavish spending habits, I've been struggling to understand how and why this story has been covered up for so long. After doing some digging today, I have to conclude it's a pretty ugly picture of North Carolina's political press.
First off, Beason is not a household word in North Carolina, even though he should be. Up until today, the only definitive story on the influential Republican I could find was written in 2005 by Dan Kane, full of cushy stuff like this:
Top legislators say they like Beason, who was ranked as the most effective lobbyist last session, because he gives solid information and he's honest. "The operative word with Don Beason is 'professionalism,' " said Rep. Richard Morgan, a former Republican House speaker from Moore County.
But there might be other reasons for Beason's success, too. He has skillfully worked with his business clients to direct money to top legislators' campaigns and to cover the costs of their political meetings and events.
Dan Kane wrote that story in 2005, right? And now here we are in 2007, with everyone wondering who's the mystery man that funneled a half-a-million dollars into Jim Black's dirty pockets. And no one fingers Don Beason?