The $12 million taxpayer giveway to the ahletic booster clubs at UNC schools is safe for another year, but the fatcats using their money and influence to keep it on the books are already getting ready for next year’s battle.
Citizens for Higher Education, the PAC created by wealthy supporters of UNC-Chapel Hill, has already raised $170,800 this year, according to recent reports filed the State Board of Elections. The PAC has given $915,000 to state lawamkers in the last two election cycles and employs two lobbyists in the legislative halls to make sure the booster clubs keep getting their money.
The PAC is already making its investments in the next election too, even though it is almost a year and a half away. The group gave several legislators money before the current General Assembly session began, including $1,000 to Senator Debbie Clary, $1,000 to Rep. Jane Whilden, $1,000 to Rep.Ty Harrell and $1,000 to Rep. Hugh Blackwell.
Governor Beverly Perdue and Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton each received $4,000 even though they next stand for election in 2012. Never too early to buy influence.
The list of people providing the money for Citizens for Higher Education read’s like a list of people who sit in the padded seats at half court of the Carolina basketball games—current Board of Trustee Chair Bob Winston, past chair Roger Perry, two members of the UNC Board of Governors—Paul Fulton and Fred Mills, and host of other huge financial backers of the university.
Still wondering how lawmakers could possibly decide to keep giving $12 million to booster clubs while cutting services to people with disabilities and mental illness?