I happened to stumble across a Blinkin’ Chris commentary on WRAL radio while driving around today. Of course, the blinkin’ one was in his typical ‘damn the republicans’ mode. But in this case, he was clearly playing fast and loose with the truth.
Fitz-cryin’s thesis was that the mean old, crooked Republicans on Jones Street have been bleeding the state board of elections dry so they can’t bust all of the crooked politicians. As an example, he cited Fletcher Hartsell’s recent referral to prosecutors on campaign finance-related allegations. I could swear I heard Chris state as fact that Hartsell had not been audited by the state board the whole time he had been in Raleigh.
I have been writing on Hartsell recently, and I knew that couldn’t possibly be true. So, I went back to the state board of elections web site. Hartsell has been in the legislature since 1990. The board’s web site shows he received an “audit letter” in 1998 AND 2000. In 2010, Hartsell’s campaign got a “penalty assessment letter” from the board. I am sure that letter was sent as a result of an AUDIT of his campaign finances. Facts are such inconvenient things.
I covered the state board of elections as a member of the driveby media well before these current heady days as a giant of cyberspace. I regularly got told that the board does not initiate inquiries. They sits around waiting for someone to bring them a complaint.
They sure got onto state Rep. Michael Wray’s (D) case within months of it going public. With Hartsell, it took them two and a half years. (*Again, we’re suuuuuuure it had nothing to do with (1) Hartsell’s close relationship with Thom Tillis and Pat McCrory, or (2) his lawyer’s close relationship with board director Kim Strach’s husband.*)
Campaign finance laws are a lot like tax laws. They are so burdensome and convoluted that I am sure you could find something WRONG with just about anyone’s reports. Reading a lot of these reports is like a bad joke. I can’t tell you how many times I see stay-at-home moms and house wives maxing out on contributions to various pols. Where did the money come from? They don’t work. (*Oh yeah, it was from their lobbyist hubby who has business before the representative’s / senator’s / councilman’s committee.*)
If I did my taxes like a lot of these people handle their campaign finance reporting, I’d be sporting silver bracelets. Perhaps it’s time to turn over monitoring of these campaign finance reports to the same jackals and vultures who look over our tax returns. It might be a great start to some political house cleaning.
If Chris or any of his other cronies want to go on about monkey business at the state board of elections in Raleigh’s Republican era, I have two words for them: Larry Leake.