I finally got my hands on the Petition for Judicial Review by Richard Morgan, who is challenging the decision in favor of Art Pope's electioneering organization by the North Carolina State Board of Elections earlier this year. As you may recall, Pope's money was poured into the contest between Morgan and Hairdresser Puppet Joe Boylan, tilting the playing field and handing Boylan a surprise victory.
For new readers to BlueNC, this has been covered exhaustively, and with good reason. What's at stake is the integrity of our elections. Specifically, the state board found that a rich guy with unlimited corporate cash can spend as much as he wants to influence the outcome of elections. To be clear, no one (in this case) is questioning Pope's ability to spend his personal money. That's not the issue. Rather, the money used to influence this election came directly from Pope's business - which means it's corporate money.
If Pope wins this appeal, businesses in North Carolina will be free to pour millions into elections, effectively swamping the voices of We the People who are limited by campaign contribution laws in the amounts we can give.
The petition for review is 11 pages long. I've excerpted part of the section called "Bases for Appeal," which you can see if you click on the image. It's a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo, which you may find interesting, but there's an even more startling basis for appeal, which I wrote about on the day of the hearing.
Submitted by George Pence on Sat, 12/16/2006 - 2:32am
In the wake of the recent election, The Wilmington Star-News has given a lot of coverage to Mike McIntyre, and nearly all of it emphasizes his status as a "Blue Dog" Democrat. Typical of the paper's treatment is a depiction of Rep. McIntyre as very influential in a group of Democrats so conservative as to be virtually identical to Republicans.
One recent article leads off an interview with the Congressman by describing a sign that appears on the office door of every member of the "Blue Dog" coalition. That sign is a changing tabulation of the growing national debt. The article makes clear that the foremost objective of these conservative Democrats is addressing the national debt. That comes before everything else.
Orr, 60, has been calling Republicans and plans to spend the next two or three months moving around the state to see whether his candidacy is viable. "I have been encouraged by the limited response so far," Orr said. "If the response is as encouraging as the initial foray has indicated, then I would probably jump in the race."
Submitted by George Pence on Fri, 12/15/2006 - 5:48pm
Recently Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts entered into an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security that allows Massachusetts State Police to arrest immigrants who are in the state illegally. Whenever in the course of their routine law enforcement duties they stop someone whose immigration status they consider questionable, they are obliged to call the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office and then detain that person if federal officials request it.
While it is said that the intended target of this new policy is people arrested for violent crime, the same procedures could also be employed with a motorist who is stopped for running a stop sign. Obviously civil libertarians are in an uproar because they are concerned that this new law will lead to racial profiling and give people in minority communities one less reason to trust the police.
Why not, everyone else always has. Just like them, you'll be wrong. Yesterday, kos posted a list of all the Rasmussen polls about current candidates running for 2008 - all but those involving John Edwards. Yesterday, MissLaura skipped Edwards on her Presidential roundup, saying "I went back and forth about the Edwards poll thing, and decided not to since it had already been mentioned".
Over at MyDD, the Breaking Blue and Jerome's stories are apparently a subsidiary of the Obama campaign. Jerome has Edwards listed as a "second-tier" candidate.
Hillary Clinton meets with Republican operatives and their advice, not to worry about "what’s-his-name, Obama". No mention of Edwards.
Go ahead, underestimate him....
Chris Godzilla at the Washington Post writes with a level of confidence that occasionally exceeds his level of knowledge. Today's report on the US Senate in 2008 includes this strange paragraph:
Following her disastrous performance as the chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the 2006 cycle, rumors of a retirement by Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) continue to circulate in the D.C. Dole will be 72 years old on election day 2008 and had hip replacement surgery earlier this week. It's also not immediately clear that Dole would have a path back into leadership even if she won re-election to a second term. If Dole retired, Democrats would likely turn to Gov. Mike Easley (D) who will be term limited out of office in 2008. Rep. Bobby Etheridge (D) has also toyed with the idea of running for the Senate in recent years and might find an open seat irresistible.
Democrats would likely turn to Easley? Hmmmm. That's news to me, given the fact that Governor Easley has said: “I would find the legislative process frustrating. I just don’t think the Senate would be the highest and best use of my skills.”
Dear Mr. Godzilla: What's with the "Bobby" thing? Seems kind of familiar, don't you think? And by the way, it's okay to ask around before you put your reputation on the line with uninformed pundo-babble.
Submitted by George Pence on Fri, 12/15/2006 - 11:00am
According to a report by Brian DeBose in The Washington Times, Congressman Mel Watt, the outgoing chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, is making a plea for minority hiring on capitol hill.
In a letter to Nancy Pelosi, Watt said that the Democratic Party must increase the number of minorities working for committees and subcommittees. He said the lack of diversity hiring has been a major problem for years, "All you have to do is look at the composition of committees, subcommittees and leadership staffs," a problem he said that extends to the staffs of individual legislators.
Speaker elect Pelosi has promised to make minority hiring a priority for incoming committee chairs.
Rory Blake, the Democrat who ran against Howard Coble got a taste of "Florida style elections" in Guilford County.
Excerpts from the Dec 7 issue of Yes Weekly:
The forgotten Democrat: Rory Blake tries to ride blue wave into red territory
...Blake pokes his head around the corner and summons his campaign staff - Smith and Gaddy - into a back room. In front of him sits a pile of sample ballots lifted from several 6th District precincts. His race tops the ballot, but his name doesn't appear on the paper.
"You can either choose Howard Coble or Howard Coble," Blake says, his temperature rising.
He's heard secondhand that a Democratic observer at Edgefield Baptist Church encountered the same non-choice during the actual touch screen voting and he's livid. Guilford County Board of Elections Director George Gilbert assures Blake the mistake had been taken care of and does not appear on the screens, but Blake doesn't buy it. The candidate is on his cell phone, trying to bend the ear of sympathetic journalists and gin up some last-minute support for what he now thinks might have been a stolen election.
The North Carolina Democratic Party this week announced some good news for friends like Thomas Brock (where the heck has he been lately?) who are scrambling to get things organized down east. Check out their website for more good stuff about this important new hire:
North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jerry Meek announced that Mira Jones has been hired as Eastern Political Director. In the position, Jones will focus on building the Party across Eastern North Carolina. She joins Central Political Director Kristen Ward and Western Political Director Mark Hufford.
I love what Jerry and his team are doing to push the party into a more powerful force here in North Carolina. Swing by the site and give them a virtual pat on the back. Mira's email is in the press release, so give her a welcome as well.
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