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The story referred repeatedly to “false letters.” What was false? Apparently, this sentence: “Funds are needed in this budget cycle” for two highway projects.
 
Members of Governor Perdue’s staff inserted that line.  Jim Trogdon of DOT, whose signature was added to the letters electronically, didn’t agree with it.
 
Question, then: Is the statement “funds are needed in this budget cycle” demonstrably false – that is, a lie? Or is it a matter of opinion?
 
Was this a nefarious scheme by the Governor’s staff to deceive legislators? Or was it typical political/bureaucratic bungling?
 
The N&O’s big headline referred to “altered letters.” Or were they “edited,” “rewritten,” “changed.”?
 
According to the story, “Trogdon told the N&O said Monday that the revisions added by the governor’s office amounted to wishful thinking and a desire to reassure legislators.”
 
One Democratic blogger took the N&O to task over the story. Betsy Muse at Democratic Muse wrote:
 
“This is the most irresponsible example of journalism I've seen by the News & Observer and Charlotte Observer in a while. The writers set the piece up to make it look like Perdue and her staff intentionally inserted words into a signed letter without following any protocol to secure permission for the change.”
 
Re the “false letters,” Muse mused:
 
“​No boys, the letters were quite real. They weren't false at all. Contrary to what it seems you wish to suggest, the letters were written by Jim Trogdan, sent to Perdue's staff by Trogdan's assistant who asked if the language was acceptable to the Governor. Perdue's staff edited the letters so the language was acceptable and then took the letters to the DOT requesting approval and a signature. A DOT deputy secretary approved the requested edits to letters originally drafted by Jim Trogdon and his signature was electronically applied to the letters by his department after the approval was granted.
 
​“At no time does Susan Coward, the above mentioned deputy secretary, accuse Governor Perdue or her staff of deceiving her into approving the edits. Jim Trogdon does not accuse Perdue or her staff of wrongdoing.”
 
Now, of course, we can look forward to the Republican legislature conducting a fair and impartial inquiry into this brouhaha.
 
 
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Comments

Carbine
# Carbine
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 3:50 PM
Leave it to Gary to rush to the defense of Democrats involved I yet ANOTHER scandal.

Actually though, I'm inclined to believe there was nothing out of the ordinary here. Bev & company probably believed quite sincerely that Trogdon would happily go along with their plan to deceive the General Assembly, and were genuinely surprised to learn that he, a fellow Democrat, actually had some scruples about lying to the legislature to secure more funding for a pet project.

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