The SBI's probe of Internet gambling corruption on the horizon

And the stakes are considerable:

The case raises clear concerns about pay-to-play politics, but there are significant other issues. One involved contributions from Chase E. Burns of Oklahoma, owner of a company that developed software for the sweepstakes machines. Burns paid $274,000 in campaign donations to North Carolina candidates and party committees from a trust fund filled with $5 million transferred from his company, International Internet Technologies. Burns’ contributions may have violated laws against direct corporate contributions to candidates, and the money itself was tainted by illegal gambling. Burns was indicted in Florida on racketeering charges and pleaded no contest to a lesser charge.

And once again, the N&O failed to mention the SBI has been moved from the Attorney General's office to answering directly to the Governor. Have McCrory's recent diatribes about being persecuted by the media forced the editorial board into being more circumspect? That conflict of interest is not imaginary, it's very real, and ignoring that conflict won't make it go away. Our Governor has demonstrated a severe lack of understanding when it comes to ethical considerations, and he needs to be put on notice that trying to influence the SBI's investigation results will land him in more hot water.

Grier Martin gets a Republican challenger

You're going to have to do better than this, BergerMoore:

According to a post on Morris’ Facebook page, House Speaker Tim Moore helped with the announcement during a fundraiser at the home of Jim Cain, an attorney and former U.S. ambassador to Denmark.

Morris, a Republican, has worked at the General Assembly for two years. Prior to that, he’s worked as a banker, a builder and a pastor.

We got your back, Major. Just keep your feet and knees together and we'll get through this thing in one piece. ;)

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Look who's joining the sophomoric #ncpol mudwrestling match:

Here's an idea, instead of chirping on social media and whining in the op-ed pages, why don't you get back to protecting NC's Environmental Quality?

McCrory administration's lack of integrity lands them in court

Violating public records laws left and right:

“This administration, and particularly the agencies that are within the ambit of the governor’s appointive powers, are just performing abysmally when it comes to complying with the public records law,” said Hugh Stevens, lawyer for a group of eight leading media outlets and public interest groups that sued Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the secretaries of eight Cabinet agencies in July.

McCrory’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment. In July, it said his administration is a “champion of transparency and fair and legitimate news gathering.” But it also said some people are “exploiting the public records law and filing overly-broad and duplicative records requests that gum up the day-to-day operations of state government.”

It's not up to you or your lackeys to decide if a request is "fair and legitimate news gathering," which is a good thing because your childish reactions to stories about your unethical practices prove you don't have a clue about how to differentiate between right and wrong.

White male Republicans dominate political donor list

No big surprise, but it does have a big impact on Democracy:

95 percent of the largest contributors in the state are white. Their contributions amounted to 97 percent of the $4.4 million given. Two-thirds of North Carolina’s biggest donors are male. Of the institute’s Top 10 list, eight are Republicans and two are Democrats.

While groups like the Institute for Southern Studies push for election financing reforms to counter the disproportionate impact of special interest money, the prevailing argument is that that spending money on a candidate or cause is a fundamental right – it is encapsulated in the nation’s protection of free speech.

And therein lies the problem. The Anti-Federalists wanted to curb the powers of the government, not so much to avoid totalitarianism, but to keep the government from reestablishing a class system such as existed under Crown rule. The Bill of Rights was the great "equalizer," and was never meant to give the wealthy undue influence over lawmaking. But their constant and sometimes clever argument of "money=speech" has chipped away at the foundations of equality, leaving us with a Democracy in name only.

McCrory's denials getting lamer every day

Miserably failing the smell test:

In a memo from that day, “The meeting began with Gov. McCrory making a few remarks and turning the meeting over to Graeme Keith. “Mr. Keith began his remarks by stating that he had been working on private prison maintenance for 10 years and during that time had given a lot of money to candidates running for public office and it was now time for him to get something in return.”

McCrory denied hearing Keith say that, according to a transcript of his interview with The N&O. McCory said, “My secretary informed me that was said probably while I was in a side conversation and I don’t know if it was said to the whole table or not, but I did not hear it.”

Riiight. You turn the meeting over to your donor buddy, and then immediately strike up a conversation with somebody else. Not bloody likely. That's one of the problems with electing somebody who doesn't see anything wrong with political patronage: They're also too stupid to avoid getting caught. And this explanation from Keith made me bark in laughter:

Outrage, pushback on UNC System Chancellor raises

Golden parachutes will be handed out as soon as the hydraulics begin to fail:

At Appalachian State University on Tuesday, protesters asked Chancellor Sheri Everts to give up her 17.5 percent increase, which boosts her annual pay to $335,000. The same day, the East Carolina University Faculty Senate passed a resolution expressing “disapproval of the taxpayer-funded pay raises for top management at a time of stagnant taxpayer-funded wages for the rank-and-file who are major contributors to the work of the university.”

On Friday, the UNC board, in a closed-session vote, gave raises to 12 of 17 UNC system chancellors, ranging from 8 percent to 19 percent. In the recently passed state budget, university employees and faculty got $750 one-time bonuses but no salary increase.

Just an observation without commentary, lest I be accused of playing the Race Card: Of the five Chancellors who did *not* receive a raise Friday, three (3) were African-American, one was a Latino, and one was a Lumbee.

Solar farmer sets the record straight

This is how you save rural America:

After speaking with our neighbors and family, we chose to use 34 acres of our farmland for a solar farm, producing enough power for 800 homes. We kept more than 200 acres as traditional farmland.

Our solar farm does not produce any noise or pollution, and our property value has not decreased. So far, the additional income from our solar farm has been used for medical bills, but my health has improved. And solar helps us provide for our family and keep our land where it belongs – in our family.

Compared to fracking, which taints wells, poisons farm animals, and guts property values to the point you can't even give away your land just to escape the nightmare. You won't find a more stark example of how little Republicans actually care for those they are supposed to represent than this one.


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