Republican greed

For McCrory, money does grow on a Tree

Ethical questions just keep piling up:

In the months after receiving his $171,071 payout of stock from Tree.com, McCrory appointed the state's banking director and a majority of the banking commissioners who regulate mortgage brokers. Some of Tree.com's payments to McCrory and Sanford weren't publicly disclosed until May 2014, when the company filed its 2013 year-end proxy statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

McCrory declined requests for an interview. In a written statement, McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis said the governor fully complied with state law and "continues to uphold high ethical standards."

From taking money from out-of-state gambling concerns to insider stock trading, McCrory's ethical lapses have become so numerous they can no longer be attributed to ignorance or incompetence. It's time for a special prosecutor to open an investigation, just like George Holding did when Mike Easley was called to the carpet.

The Bergermeister's campaign money problem

It looks like pay-to-play politics is back in style, with a vengeance:

State Senate leader Phil Berger raised nearly $2 million through the third quarter of the year, according to his campaign finance report.

Below are the top individual and PAC donors with listed "election sum to date" contributions.There is a caveat. Every sum listed below exceeds the state's $5,000 contribution limit. There are a lot of them, 42 individual contributors alone.

Bless his heart, Doug doesn't believe Berger's campaign received all that money, that it was a calculation error. There's been some calculating, alright, but it's more along the lines of, "If we get caught, we'll just claim ignorance and 'give' the money back."

Is that an incentive under that Red Hat, or are you just glad to see me?

Elite club membership dues come from the strangest places:

North Carolina's newly minted public-private partnership set up to create jobs across the state revealed its five major donors this week, among them Duke Energy and software firm Red Hat. The largest donation, $200,000, came from Duke Energy. Raleigh-based Red Hat pitched in $100,000, and smaller donations came from Piedmont Natural Gas, Morrisville-based computer maker Lenovo and Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co.

Red Hat has so far received about $470,000 out of $15 million in incentive projects announced in 2011.

I'm sure many corporatists will view this as Red Hat simply "paying it forward" or some other rationalization, but it should be a stark reminder to the rest of us just how unwise and possibly incestuous this misappropriation of taxpayer's dollars really is.

Tipping the scales: NC's Judiciary shaped by out-of-state money

The final frontier of unchecked power:

But the mandatory retirement of Sarah Parker, the chief justice from 2006 until the end of August, opened up a spot on the bench. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Associate Justice Mark Martin, a Republican, to fill the vacancy until the Nov. 4 elections. Robert N. Hunter Jr., a Republican who was on the N.C. Court of Appeals, was then named to serve in Martin’s seat until the election.

That shifted the balance in September to five Republicans and two Democrats. There have been few cases decided since then that reflect what that shift might mean for politically charged lawsuits.

There may have been only time for a "few" cases, but they've been instructive enough. The Supreme Court is gearing up to become much more involved in cases with a partisan nature, pre-empting the lower Court of Appeals when it will be advantageous to do so. That "pro-active" approach to the law does not bode well for those seeking Constitutional clarification or redress, nor does having justices owe allegiance to DC political heavyweights:

Wesley Meredith's Medicaid ghost haunting him mercilessly

This house (Senate, whatever) is not clea-uh:

This week Meredith’s Democratic opponent, Billy Richardson, accused the senator of collecting Medicaid benefits for his then-newborn son back in 1996 and 1997, despite the fact that Meredith had a (barely) six-figure income at the time. Richardson even has the documents, including copies of tax returns and Medicaid cards, to back up his story.

The Cumberland County Republican Party on Wednesday went with the latter theory, issuing a statement blasting Meredith for “financially abandon[ing] his wife and child,” before later deleting the post. Maybe because later that same day, Meredith’s ex-wife put out a statement that said, naw mang, he didn’t financially abandon me, we signed up for Medicaid together!

You gotta love Wonkette. When they come across stupid people, they're not afraid to have a little fun with them. As for Senator Meredith, take him out of the oven, 'cause he's done. If you're a Republican, it's okay to rip off investors or pocket big cash donations from out-of-state indicted gamblers, but when you get caught hitching a ride on the Welfare gravy train, you've crossed the Rubicon and will be tarred, feathered, rode out of town on a rail, and forced to wear a scarlet M. The "M" stands for Moocher, by the way.

Something fishy going on with coastal Republicans

Apparently enforcing the law is bad for somebody's business:

The state budget, echoing a directive from the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission, gave Dr. Louis Daniel, NCDMF’s executive director, the authority to enter into an Joint Enforcement Agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service that would provide the state with an estimated $600,000 per year to allow the marine patrol and NMFS enforcement officers to respond to fisheries violations in either state or federal waters off North Carolina.

But Daniel is apparently waiting on directions from John Skvarla, director of the NCDMF’s parent N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, before doing anything. And Skvarla is apparently waiting for an okay from Gov. Pat McCrory. Why? Six weeks ago, Daniel, Skvarla, McCrory, Rep. Thom Tillis (speaker of the state house and a candidate for the U.S. Senate) and Sen. Rep. Phil Berger (president of the state senate) received a letter from 10 Republican legislators expressing their opposition to the JEA, despite its having been part of the budget that was passed by both Republican-controlled houses of the legislature.

They cut the Fishery's enforcement budget in lieu of receiving these Federal dollars, and now they're trying to block that partnership. And the only logical reason is: The big commercial fishing operations are profiting from violations of the law, and they want to sink the boats of those who are tasked with enforcing them. Law and order, indeed.

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