Well, The N&O has broken open a rather troubling story involving the governor, some of his big donors, and favors they may have received from the state bureaucracy (allegedly thanks to the governor). Granted, we should consider the source. But the detail and documentation in the story is so thorough that there HAS to be something to it.
Some Democrats out there may be giggling. This is not a partisan affair. If proven true — it’s yet another example of the corrupting power of big government. You get close to agencies that have a lot of influence over people’s lives and are funded with everybody’s tax dollars, and things start to get a little flexible with you ethically.
In 1995, while a member of the driveby media, I broke a story about a concerted effort in Raleigh to link campaign contributions to the hiring, or career advancement, of state employees. The conspiracy appeared to have ties to Governor Jim Hunt’s office. But, a curious thing happened. The GOP-led NC House raised a fuss, held hearings, and then made it all go away. The governor’s staff worked with their friends in the driveby media to sweep it all under the rug. Everybody moved on like nothing happened. Nothing to see here.
In 2006, the feds caught the Democrat speaker of the House running a clear pay-to-play scheme.
In 2013, we had some uproar over UNC Board of Governors appointments. Then-speaker Thom Tillis advocated for certain candidates because they had given HIM — and the caucus — a lot of money. The size of the checks trumped what the candidates could offer to the university system.
The McCrory administration is loaded with folks who have written checks to Mike Easley and Bev Perdue and Kay Hagan AND Pat McCrory. ( In fact, we wrote recently about a big-dollar fundraiser in Sanford for the governor sponsored by some of those play-both-sides wheeling-dealing influence peddlers.)
That same year, we began to her reports about Tillis and Pat McCrory holding court with various lobbyists — considering their spin and pitches in the context of their or their organization’s financial generosity toward GOP-oriented political interests.
On the campaign trail in 2014, we had Thom Tillis publicly championing film incentives within days of receiving a load of movie studio money in his Senate campaign fund.
In 2015, we saw a whole lot of legislators suddenly develop an interest in solar energy — right about the same time they got a lot of money from solar industry interests dumped into their campaign kitties.
When the GOP took control on Jones Street in 2010, and state government in 2012, they promised that things were going to be different from the ways of the old regime. We got a new set of people in charge. But a lot of the nasty habits from the old regime are still apparently hanging around.