The trail of slime continues

Many of my friends couldn't understand why I got so upset when the incompetent State Board of Elections let Art Pope and his personal 527 electioneering machine off the hook this year. "What's the big deal?" they said. "Who cares if Art Pope spends all his money trying to influence elections? This is America. Free speech rules. Right?"

Free indeed, especially if you happen to be a member of the monied elite. In fact, the State Board of Elections has swung the door wide open for rich-guy electioneering on a scale that will soon make democracy a quaint memory in a world gone mad with corporate money. Following in the Puppetmaster's bloody footsteps, a new 527 euphemistically called the North Carolina Homeowner's Alliance has been pouring money into two legislative races to the tune of $71,000.

And who are the people doing this dirty work? NO. ONE. KNOWS. That's because the clowns at the State Board of Elections have allowed corporate money to contaminate our electoral process with not even a hint of oversight. The organization's Form 8872 Report of Contributions and Expenditures shows NO CONTRIBUTORS WHATSOEVER. A filing error? Maybe. But you can bet your sweet ass the IRS and the SBOE are not going to do anything about it in the next two weeks.

I ask again, who's behind the North Carolina Homeowner's Developers Association? The organization lists no street address, no phone number and no email address. The News and Observer looked into the cesspool headed by Greensboro accountant William DePriest, who (surprise, surprise) is also the "custodian" for the NC Realtors PAC.

The political group makes no mention in the fliers and phone calls that it was formed to promote the interests of real estate agents. It's called the N.C. Homeowners Alliance. It is a nonprofit issue-oriented organization known as a "527," after a tax code provision.

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The Greensboro-based association started the political group last month, according to papers filed with the Internal Revenue Service. They list the association's chief operating officer, William DePriest, and its lobbyist, Timothy Kent, as contacts. The association boasts the largest political action committee in the state; its most recent campaign finance report showed roughly $750,000 on hand.

So why would it need to augment that war chest with a 527? "We feel like residents of North Carolina need to be able to get information on issues of importance to them, and be able to identify leaders who can make a difference," Kent said.

Isn't that sweet. Mr. Kent feels like residents of North Carolina need to be able to get information on issues of importance to them! Except for one tiny piece of information ... that the whole slimy organization is a front for developers and homebuilders.

There's word for people like Timmy Kent: @$$hole. And remember, the people to thank for this sorry situation are the morons at the State Board of Elections.

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Comments

It won't be long before

we'll have polling stations sponsored by McDonalds, voting machines sponsored by Diebold. Oh wait.

Nevermind.

I think this is what makes me the most angry.

The special interests with all the money get all the attention. If you haven't already seen it, go to PBS.org and watch Bill Moyers Capital Crimes about the Jack Abramoff scandal. Disgusting.

Aw, come on DJ.

Whats'a matter with a bunch of rich guys buying up a few seats in the NC House? And maybe a few judges and county commissioners, too? What's wrong with the Kings of Retail and Realtors throwing their money around to get control of the state legislature? What's wrong with corporations having more say in Raleigh than you or I do?

I jest of course. EVERYTHING is wrong with it. Which is why the State Board of Elections is to be condemned for allowing it to happen here in North Carolina.

The only hope I see, quite honestly, is the blogosphere. With no money and a little creativity, I believe we can pull the power, slowly but surely, away from wealthy elite who are used to doing their backroom deals and getting their way no matter what. It isn't going to be easy . . . and god knows, they won't let go of their power without a fight . . . but so be it.

Glad you're here.