McCrony thinks federal money is all the rage for highway funds and disaster relief, not so much for Medicaid

If hypocrisy were still a sin, the McCrony administration would be toiling in the seventh level of hell until all eternity. Chris Fitzsimon breaks it down.

You won't see McDecker touting this accomplishment

There's enough money in furniture to feed an army of workers, but not enough to feed the corporate profit machine. Sad news.

And what's the McDecker solution? Play golf!

RJR is dark-money McCrory backer

(Tip o' the hat to Rep. Pricey Harrison for tweeting this)

Facing South reports a Smoking Gun: Tobacco giant reveals funding of NC dark money group backing McCrory

As a so-called "dark money" group, the Renew North Carolina Foundation -- a political nonprofit launched in 2012 to support the agenda of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory -- doesn't have to disclose its donors.

However, because a corporate backer of Renew NC is one of a growing number of companies that have agreed to be more transparent about their political spending, at least one donor to the pro-McCrory outfit has been brought to light: tobacco giant Reynolds American, Inc.

Supreme Court strikes down aggregate limit on campaign contributions

Today the Supreme Court ruled that you should be able give the base contribution to as many candidates as you like with no aggregate limit applied.

In the 2011–2012 election cycle, appellant McCutcheon contributed to 16 different federal candidates, complying with the base limits ap- plicable to each. He alleges that the aggregate limits prevented him from contributing to 12 additional candidates and to a number of noncandidate political committees. He also alleges that he wishes to make similar contributions in the future, all within the base limits. McCutcheon and appellant Republican National Committee filed a complaint before a three-judge District Court, asserting that the ag- gregate limits were unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The District Court denied their motion for a preliminary injunction and granted the Government’s motion to dismiss. Assuming that thebase limits appropriately served the Government’s anticorruption in- terest, the District Court concluded that the aggregate limits sur- vived First Amendment scrutiny because they prevented evasion of the base limits.

Held: The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded.

893 F. Supp. 2d 133, reversed and remanded. CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS, joined by JUSTICE SCALIA, JUSTICE KENNE-
DY, and JUSTICE ALITO, concluded that the aggregate limits are inva- lid under the First Amendment.

Moffitt trying to get BOE complaint dropped


Photo from Scrutiny Hooligans

And enough lies might get the job done:

The complaint stems from a Feb. 24 meeting between Moffitt and Turner at an Asheville restaurant. Moffitt has said he merely suggested that Turner would make a good candidate to head UNC-TV because of his experience as a producer at MTV and more recent work as a vice chancellor at UNC Asheville. A national search for a new UNC-TV director is expected to begin later this year. "Rep. Moffitt did not give or promise Brian Turner any political appointment or support for public office," according to Moffitt's response.

In a sworn statement included in the response, Buncombe County Commissioner David King, who attended the meeting between the two candidates, also says Moffitt didn't give or promise Turner "any political appointment, support for political office, or for any job in the government or with UNC-TV." King, a Republican, also says in his statement that he called Turner in early March to ask why he was making false claims against Moffitt, and Turner responded, "It is good for my campaign."

Riiight. In one breath, you call Turner a liar, and in the next breath, you claim he told you something outrageous, something that can't be verified or disproved. It's a liar's wonderland. Lesson learned: if you're a Democrat, don't meet with two Republicans without wearing a wire.

Coal-ash round-up: Day 60

This week brings a flurry of lawyering, with Duke Energy working at every turn to shut citizens out of the process and keep communications secret, with a helpful assist from John "Long-Standing Crony" Skvarla. Here's a sampling:

Duke Energy is asking a judge to prevent citizens groups from taking part in any enforcement action that would make the company clean up nearly three dozen coal ash pits across North Carolina.

Duke Energy worked with North Carolina environmental regulators for years to ensure information about potential fallout from dam breaches – including those at coal ash ponds – would stay exempt from the state's public records law. Emails between Duke and officials at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources show that after an initial request from an engineer at the company in May 2011, the department sought legal advice for ways to keep dam emergency action plans away from public inspection, reversing the department's earlier position.

Duke Energy says a judge should dismiss state lawsuits filed over coal ash contamination because any releases were “specifically or impliedly authorized” by its state permits.

State environmental groups are suing Duke Energy to clean up a ribbon of sludge in the Dan River as well as its 14 coal ash-containment sites across North Carolina.

As underlined by an environmental group last week, there are no clear answers about where the more than 100 million tons of Duke Energy coal ash is supposed to go to make it safe and secure.

No early indictment for Patrick Cannon

The Charlotte Observer is reporting there will be no early indictment for Patrick Cannon in the corruption and bribery case against him after his attorney, James Ferguson, waived Cannon's preliminary hearing. Experts are quoted saying this may indicate he is in plea negotiations.

Cannon remained free Monday on an unsecured $25,000 bond. The office of U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins says the investigation continues.

Experts say the delay of an indictment could signal that plea discussions are imminent.

“Once that (indictment) happens, the opportunity for flexibility is greatly reduced,” said James Wyatt, a prominent Charlotte defense attorney.

I wonder if the location of the current grand jury may have anything to do with it.

Triad Conservative blog advises Senate candidates to avoid debates

The blog Triad Conservative is advising Republican candidates for Kay Hagan's Senate seat to avoid a debate being staged April 22nd and 23rd by Time Warner News and McClatchy. Because, really, who needs open debate in a free democracy when the Koch brothers and Karl Rove's American Crossroads are talking for you?

Greensboro News and Record editorial writer Doug Clark thinks the idea is as ridiculous as you do.

Meanwhile, Hagan is portraying herself as the voice of sanity in the Senate race.

Offshore drilling: Unpredictable benefits, known risks

Republican legislators did everything but pull teeth to get Mike Walden to give a rosy picture about offshore drilling. Much to my surprise, he didn't.

Republicans on the committee pushed Walden to say the outlook could be brighter if it turns out North Carolina has more oil and natural gas than estimated. Rep. Trudy Wade of Greensboro cited North Dakota's low unemployment rate and high average salaries amid that state's oil boom, and asked Walden if the same thing couldn't happen here.

"I do not foresee that kind of economic boom in North Carolina," Walden replied.

On the other hand, Walden conceded Sen. Buck Newton's point that if the state has more natural gas offshore than expected, the job picture would improve by that amount. "That's fair, as a first cut," the professor said.

Koch Brothers defend Fannie and Freddie

No, this is not an April Fools joke:

A conservative seniors group with ties to the billionaire Koch brothers on Monday announced $1.5 million in ads against seven members of the Senate Banking Committee in the hopes of derailing a proposal that would effectively scrap mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

"First it was Obamacare. Millions of Americans saw their health plans canceled," says one ad running against Sen. Kay Hagan, the North Carolina Democrat facing a tough re-election bid. "Now, Kay Hagan is teaming up with Barack Obama to take over the mortgage industry," the ad continues, trying to build voters' frustration with the national health care law.

And before you say it, you're right: this has nothing to do with "saving" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and everything to do with compounding the Koch Brothers' attacks on Kay Hagan and other Senators. In reality, the right-wing opposition to this bill is based on the idea that Fannie and Freddie should be destroyed completely and not replaced by something else:

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