Media reports indicate that a Lexington, NC -based corporation may have defrauded as many as TWO MILLION PEOPLE with an alleged Ponzi scheme. The NC Secretary of State’s office regulates and oversees corporations doing business in the state. That office ALSO is charged with investigating securities fraud in the state. But the FEDS had to come in and make this bust. Where were incumbent Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and her team on this one?
Earlier this year, the feds came into the state to bust a Hickory resident for a scam that had been going on for as long as Elaine has been in office. In 2009, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission busted a Charlotte couple for a Ponzi scheme. The CFTC put out a press release thanking a group of agencies — including the SBI and the Secretary of State — at the bottom as almost an afterthought. Also, in 2009, a Raleigh man was busted by the FBI for his role in a Ponzi scheme. (No mention AT ALL of the Secretary of State’s office.)
We also have some disturbing reports about state treasurer Janet Cowell’s decision to invest A LOT of state money in the dubious Facebook IPO. The law firm she selected to handle the deal was a major contributor to her campaign. Erskine Bowles works for the firm that underwrote the Facebook IPO. Erskine’s wife Crandall hosted a fundraiser for our friend Janet, and — suddenly — Erskine’s firm gets a whole lot of business from the state treasurer’s office. The potential securities and legal issues here SCREAM for intervention by Attorney General Roy Cooper and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. Cooper is unopposed this year, and he is more comfortable with popping up in front of the cameras after the federal agents have already done the hard work. And Elaine is really busy. She has a reelection fight on her hands.
Elaine Marshall is a political animal. She served in the North Carolina Senate until 1994 — when she was upset by a little-known unemployed sign painter. She sat out for two years, before running for Secretary of State in 1996. She’s held the job ever since, thanks to poor candidate recruiting by NCGOP. Elaine loves the job so much that she’s tried TWICE to jump to the U.S. Senate.
Playing politics can be fun. But the duties of the Secretary of State are serious business. Elaine’s GOP challenger this year, Ed Goodwin — a retired federal agent who has matched wits with terrorists and other assorted bad guys — can speak with some authority about how to handle serious business.