The state’s economy is in the tank. Our debt is growing by the minute. Unemployment ranks are growing. And what is the Raleigh political class doing? Plotting to save poor Thom Tillis’s political reputation and get him two more years as the top money-changer in that temple on Jones Street.
Tom-with-an-H’s world got rocked when his old friend, roommate, and chief of staff got caught riding dirty with a married woman who also happened to be a registered state lobbyist. No defense for ol’ Charles Thomas. He “quit” his job and attempted to shuffle out of the limelight.
This story had people thinking about l’affaire LaRoque — another scandal Raleigh is trying to sweep under the rug. Legislator Stephen Laroque (R-Kinston) is under federal scrutiny for his use of federal funds in his private business. Laroque and Tillis are both devoted Richard Morgan disciples, and members of the same political cliques. The problematic allegations against Laroque kept popping up in the media and the blogosphere. Tillis allowed Laroque to keep his powerful chairmanship, and had no comment on the whole affair. It took Democrat Leader Joe Hackney publicly complaining on the House floor to get Tom-with-an-H to blink and refer Laroque to the House ethics committee.
Laroque is facing a tough primary challenge from a candidate with strong ties to the Raleigh establishment. It appears the hope is Laroque will lose, and subsequently fall off the media’s radar screen. Presto! No more embarrassing stories about ethical lapses by a close friend of Tom-with-an-H. An ethics committee inquiry will no longer be necessary if Laroque is knocked out of office.
With Laroque out of the way, Charles Thomas is the biggest problem left facing Tom-with-an-H. The Republican caucus needs to ask their speaker some hard questions. How is it that you did not know your good friend, roommate and chief of staff was running around romancing a married woman who also happened to be lobbying the legislature? If Tillis REALLY had no idea, what does it say about his competence as the senior officer in the state House? If he did know, what does it say about his ethics and integrity?
Thomas is not making it easy for his old friend and roommate. He told the media, after the allegations hit the press and he left his job, that he was the victim of a political hit job. His “enemies” were out to get him.
Really? Your enemies MADE you gallivant all over Raleigh in public with a married woman whose job happened to be persuading you and your boss to see things her bosses’ way? You sticking with that? (Hoo-boy.)
The enemies Thomas speaks off are likely folks who were angered by the Morgan-like iron-fisted, ethically-challenged hard-nosed tactics emanating from Tillis’s office. Tom-with-an-H’s supporters are moving around whispering to people that THOSE things are all in the past, NOW THAT OL’ CHARLES — the speaker’s friend and roommate –is gone.
(How does it feel, Mr. Thomas? I am sure it hurts when you get thrown under the bus.)
This is just the tip of the iceberg with ol’ Tom-with-an-H. Democrats and Tea Party folks have a lot more documentation of antics emanating from the speaker’s office. Republicans swept to power on Jones Street in 2010 promising radical change from the legislature’s antics of the past.
Tom-with-an-H is a creature of the business-as-usual, same-‘ol, same-‘ol Raleigh establishment. If Republicans want to stay in charge, and build a solid majority well into the future, they need to toss Tillis under the same bus the speaker’s allies have tossed Charles Thomas under. Look for leaders who care more about fixing our state and steering it to a brighter future, than about lining their pockets and improving their own livelihoods at the expense of state taxpayers.