DAG McCrory

More skeletons crawl out of McCrory's dirty campaign money closet

From a federal grand jury indictment almost a year ago:

The 29-count indictment charges Boggs Paving Inc., Carl Andrew Boggs, III (a/k/a Drew Boggs), 49, of Waxhaw, North Carolina; Kevin Hicks, 42, of Monroe, North Carolina; Greg Miller, 59, of Matthews, North Carolina; Greg Tucker, 40, of Oakboro, North Carolina; John Cuthbertson (a/k/a Styx Cuthbertson), 68, of Monroe; and Styx Cuthbertson Trucking Company Inc., of Wingate, North Carolina; with conspiracy to defraud the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering, and wire fraud for a scheme that lasted more than 10 years and involved more than $87 million in government contracts. All the defendants except Greg Tucker are also charged with mail fraud.

And McCrory can't claim he doesn't know this particular crook, because it appears Drew Boggs actually hosted a reception for the soon-to-be Governor:

The puppet and his master doth protest too much

Denying the blatantly obvious:

“He drives the budgetary policy goals of the administration,” said one Republican lobbyist in town who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order not to anger either man. “The governor yields to Art. His real power, his influence in state government, is really having that turf all to himself.”

“My job, my role, my goal is not to influence and direct the governor,” Pope said emphatically. “My job is to analyze, to provide advice, facts, what the alternatives are. I present the information, and the governor decides.” McCrory said Pope defers to him, while often catching mistakes in the calculations made by state departments and legislative staffers. “We need more nerds like him in state government,” McCrory said.

The proper term is "wonk." Somebody who can explain how Senator Palpatine subverted the Republic's form of government is a nerd. But you know, Pope isn't just a wonk, either. A wonk usually writes or translates legislation for somebody else, without putting his or her influential twist on the language. That should be called "wanking." Making Art Pope a wanker.

Political appointee supports plan to bring more power unto himself

In other breaking news, rain is wet and fire is hot:

Support for moving the State Bureau of Investigation under the governor’s control solidified Tuesday, as the proposal picked up support in the House and an administration official assured that the integrity of public corruption cases could be protected.

McCrory told reporters on Tuesday that Frank Perry, secretary of the Department of Public Safety, supports the move, and the two plan to meet soon to discuss it in detail. “He is strongly recommending consolidation of those resources to me,” McCrory said.

That is quite possibly the stupidest thing McCrory has said in...okay, all week. It's getting hard to keep track, frankly, which is one more reason he shouldn't be trusted with even more men with guns at his disposal. And it looks like James needs to go back to posting his Art Pope Puppetshow flowchart again:

DAG McCrory continues to lie about unemployed workers

And it's time somebody started asking him for some proof:

McCrory said his administration had to make some tough decisions. Unlike previous Democratic administrations, he said he was committed to lowering the state’s debt, not increasing it by taking federal handouts. He said the state owed the U.S. government over $3 billion in unemployment aid when he came to office. Now, he said, that debt is on track to be paid off three years early.

McCrory said the decision to cut unemployment benefits served to encourage people to get back to work earlier. He said before the reduction, company owners told him they couldn’t fill jobs because people were waiting until their benefits had completely expired before accepting an offered position.

Bolding mine. Once again, before you can receive your weekly benefit payment, you have to answer a questionnaire. One of the questions is "During the week ending mm/dd/yy, did you refuse an offer for work?" If you have, they can suspend your benefits, and if you lie about it, they can lock your ass up. If McCrory did have a company owner tell him this (which I seriously doubt), that employer would also know which potential worker had refused the job, and that person could have been dealt with. So McCrory's argument is completely flawed. And worse than that, it's an attempt to blame the victims for the crime against them. It's long past time for the media to set the record straight on this and expose the lie for what it is.

GOP plan to move SBI more than just politics

It's insurance against Republicans being caught up in criminal investigations:

For the third time since Republicans took over the General Assembly, Senate budget-writers are trying to shift control of the State Bureau of Investigation from the attorney general to the governor.

SBI agents, under Cooper, helped make a criminal case against Democratic Gov. Mike Easley and against aides of Gov. Bev Perdue, also a Democrat. Both cases involved campaign finance law violations. Currently, the SBI is assisting federal investigators in a probe of coal-ash regulation, which involves McCrory’s environmental regulatory agency, and is conducting investigations that involve legislators and the Department of Public Safety, Cooper says.

And I think this is a perfect time to remind everybody about McCrory "cleaning house" at the State Board of Elections a few days before they were going to launch an investigation into Internet gambling kingpin Chase Burns' massive contributions to the NC GOP and his connections to the Governor's office. Subverting investigating bodies is becoming a habit with Republicans, just as looking away is becoming a habit of those who should be keeping watch.

Duke Energy sued by its own shareholders over coal ash

A house divided:

“For years, the individual defendants have known that the company's coal ash containment was inadequate and posed a significant threat to the environment yet utterly failed to take appropriate action to fix the substantial problems,” the lawsuit states. “As a result of the individual defendants’ unlawful conduct, Duke Energy has expended and will continue to expend billions of dollars in fines, penalties and clean-up costs.”

The lawsuit, filed by shareholders Edward Tansey and the Police Retirement System of St. Louis, names Lynn Good, Duke’s CEO, Keith Trent, the company’s COO, and 14 current directors. The shareholders are asking Duke to strengthen controls surrounding coal ash disposal to comply with federal and state regulations.

Which brings up another issue dealing with potential conflicts of interest: when public-sector pensions are so tied into private-sector profits, will there be a hesitation on the part of government to levy fines for rule violations or otherwise punish said businesses? If nothing else, the coal ash spill in the Dan River should buttress arguments in favor of the state divesting its investment holdings in the entire coal-burning cycle.

Defending UNCW's Chancellor from GOP fraternity bullies

Standing up for what's right:

A group of community leaders in the Wilmington area has placed a full page ad in local newspapers for this weekend in support of embattled UNC Wilmington Chancellor Gary Miller. WECT recently investigated tensions at the university over the last couple years stemming from the suspension of a fraternity on campus that has ties to Governor Pat McCrory's office. It is believed to be one of the reasons Miller is currently seeking other employment at institutions in New York and Wisconsin.

Pete Hexter, a partner in Brax Fundraising and the founder of the Landfall Tradition, which annually benefits the golf programs at UNCW, is leading the ad campaign in support of Miller. "There are many people in this community that have rallied around the issue of Gary Miller's departure. And I think that all of us who have gotten involved are heavily invested in this university both financially and emotionally," Pete Hexter said Wednesday. "And we think that his departure is not a step in the right direction for UNCW."

This is a particularly tasteless tale of privilege and physical bullying that is a hallmark of an out-of-control college fraternity, especially one with members who have achieved a level of power in government:

Republicans trying (again) to move SBI into McCrory's domain

Soon to be renamed the State Bureau of Irrelevance:

Republicans have a plan to shift the State Bureau of Investigation from the Attorney General’s office to the Governor’s office. They must want to ensure that it stays under Roy Cooper’s control.

From the Department of Motor Vehicles to the State Board of Elections to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the mother of all debacles, the Department of Health and Human Resources, McCrory’s agencies have screwed up spectacularly and he’s either oblivious or incompetent. Despite lousy headlines, no one is held accountable and McCrory never admits mistakes. Everything is always just peachy in McCroryland.

Republicans are either clueless about what a move like this represents, or they're intentionally modeling their public policy approaches after tyrants and military juntas in the not-so-free world abroad. Side note: if you find someone being written a warning ticket by the Grammar Police distasteful, don't follow me below the fold:

DAG McCrory eyeing state lands for fracking test wells

It's my property and I'll do what I damn well please with it:

Gov. Pat McCrory wants the state to get into the fracking business by allowing drilling test wells for natural gas on public lands to help determine North Carolina’s potential as an energy producer. On shale gas — mined by injecting water, sand and chemicals into the ground to free gas deposits — McCrory said the state needs to step in itself. He said the state owns land in “three or four counties that we think are really good possibilities for natural gas exploration.”

Asked by CBJ reporter Erik Spanberg about the state’s response to the massive coal-ash spill from a Duke Energy plant into the Dan River, McCrory defended the state’s action. “I don’t know any state that has done more about coal ash than North Carolina,” he said. But he decried what he called the “politicization” of the coal-ash spill. Some groups spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads in the Raleigh television market on what he considered to be campaign ads against his administration.

That's because your administration has acted irresponsibly on several fronts, from the disembowelment and "politicization" of DENR to using deceptive legal tactics to protect Duke Energy's profits. Your administration has become one of the most dangerous entities in the state for our environment and health, and you can expect a hell of a lot more pushback in the future.

The NC GOP's empty promise on teacher raises

At least snake-oil salesmen put a bottle of something in your hand after their spiel:

No doubt sensing that their attacks on public education – and public school teachers in particular – might backfire on Election Day, Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders grudgingly started flirting with pay hikes for some teachers. But now they seem to be backing up and denying the real cause of their retreat.

But here’s the rub on teacher pay. Thanks to the fact that the Republican giveaway will cost the state about $2.4 billion over five years in lost revenue – personal income tax withholdings are behind forecasts by $221 million – there’s not going to be enough money for an across-the-board teacher pay increase. The entire scenario is brought to you by inexperienced legislative leaders driven by something akin to the tea party ideology of little or no government and few if any taxes. They took a leap without calculating distance and speed and looking at what might be at the bottom.

And now McCrory is saying the raises will happen in 2015, in an effort to get the Republicans past that whole pesky election nonsense unscathed. If we let them get away with it, all it will do is reinforce the value of lying to the people, and 2015 will be even more of a kabuki theatre.

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