Top of the Morning

Top of the morning

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?

4 Comments

  1. George Entenman

    August 5, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Chris,

    Not following this as closely as you (thanks!), I’m perhaps confusing this with something I read in the paper about in-state tuition rates for scholarship athletes, which sounds only fair to me, given all the money these kids make for UNC.

    I take it that this is a different use of monies?

    Thanks again,
    ge

  2. Kimberly

    August 5, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I will never understand how they can justify cutting Health and Human Services funding while providing funding for pet projects that don’t help save lives or improve lives. If we don’t have a law that dis-allows contributions from corporations and PAC groups to buy their way in to controlling a vote then we definately should start demanding a law! Isn’t there something on the books about persuading a vote by financial or any other means? Whatever happened to elected officials listening to common citizens and the majority of the people?

  3. gregflynn

    August 5, 2009 at 9:47 am

    George, the boosters pay the tuition through scholarships. The boosters lobbied to have tuition rate reduced to the in-state rate. For about $1 million the boosters get to save $12 million and the university budget is $12 million smaller. The athletes see no difference, the university revenue is reduced by $12 million.

  4. George Entenman

    August 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks Greg! No, Thanks “Citizens for Higher Ed”….