If you need more arguments in favor of public campaign financing – say, if the simple words "Jim Black" – haven't convinced you, check out the article on Richard Moore in Sunday's Observer . It seems that pension fund managers, the outside entities that are responsible for tending the retirement dollars of the state's employees, have been quite generous with Moore since he first ran for Treasurer in 1999. This trend culminated in Moore's receiving $28,000 from seven employees of one Texas investment firm in a single day last year. Now, none of this is illegal, but it still smells, doesn't it? Bob Hall of Democracy South has noticed:
It's a rotten system. Even when politicians do the right thing, the public is going to second-guess them when they see so much money from special-interest groups or donors that are doing business with the agency."
In Moore's case, it's particularly fishy because he, as Treasurer, has all the responsibility for picking the firms that manage the more than $70 billion in NC's pension system. We are one of only four states with this system. In light of recent Raleigh scandals, Moore's assertion that it would "incredibly shortsighted" to make decisions that don't benefit retirees isn't really reassuring. Nor is Sen. David Hoyle's explanation that the system's okay because "the electorate has either been lucky or prudent in who they elect to the job." Coming from the co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, that justification leaves much to be desired. What happens when we're not so lucky or prudent, or when, God forbid, we're misled by a long-time politician? What then? Let's remove the special interests from the elections and see if we can do better than dumb luck.