Democrats in North Carolina have a long-running problem. There is a culture of corruption a mile wide and a mile deep that runs right through the heart of their politics.
The core of their problem is how they raise the money that pays for their political operations, from the North Carolina Democratic Party to their campaigns. By and large, this Democratic fundraising is based on a simple mechanism: the exchange of political favors for campaign contributions. You want something from government, you pay. It’s a practice Democratic politicians follow day and night.
The most infamous example is Jim Black, the House speaker who received $120,000 in contributions from video poker operators while blocking legislation to ban video poker, who pocketed $29,000 from chiropractors to pass legislation requiring insurance companies to treat chiropractors the same as family doctors, and who appointed a lobbyist for a lottery company to the State Commission that grants lottery contracts.
Now, if you’re a Democrat, you’re almost surely going to holler that I picked the most egregious examples. But consider this:
This week a Board of Transportation member, Lewis Sewell, gave us an up-to-date example. Mr. Sewell spent $375,000 of tax money to build roads through his own land. He (and family) have also given a whopping $37,500 to Beverly Perdue.
And none of this is illegal. Mr. Sewell pours money into Easley and Perdue, gets appointed to the board and spends money for himself, but under North Carolina law that’s just fine.
And what does Ms. Perdue have to say about all this? Nothing. In fact, when asked if she’d reappoint Sewell to the board she couldn’t even bring herself to say no. She dodged the question.
Pat McCrory has built a campaign based on ending this kind of Democratic corruption and Mr. Sewell will serve as a poster boy for what he’s talking about from now until November.
I’d suggest McCrory challenge Ms. Perdue to take two stands. 1) To pledge not to reappoint Mr. Sewell; and 2) To join him in supporting a simple reform: No member of the Board of Transportation will raise money for or contribute to a candidate for governor. You can serve on the board or be a political moneybags, but you can’t do both.
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