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More business as usual on Jones Street

Good to see that reforms have really slammed that doggone revolving door shut at the General Assembly. A few weeks ago it was former Speaker Harold Brubaker resigning mid-term and announcing plans to cash in by becoming a consultant and lobbyist. Now, this week’s it’s a powerful state Senator.

According to WRAL’s Mark Binker, Senator Richard Stevens, a Republican and one of the Senate’s most influential members, resigned from the state Senate on Friday. It’s all happened so fast that it’s not yet been noted on the General Assembly’s website.

Today he was at work at a big downtown law firm with a large portfolio of high-profile corporate lobbying clients.

Or at least it sure looked like he was already at work when he was having lunch today in a public restaurant in downtown Raleigh with his new colleague, one of the firm’s top lobbyists.

None of this is to accuse the firm or Stevens of any legal wrongdoing. In its announcement of Stevens’ hiring, the law firm said nothing about Stevens becoming a lobbyist  and state law prohibits him from lobbying state government – but not local government – for six months after his resignation. So, at least until next March (about the time the 2013 session really gets going in earnest), Stevens won’t be able to lobby his former colleagues.

Still, having said this, the fact that Stevens seemed to have no concerns at all about dining publicly with the firm’s main lobbyist on the day his resignation and hiring were announced seems to provide compelling evidence that the state’s “cooling off” law sure isn’t causing anybody in the political revolving door world to worry too much about appearances.

 

 

 

 

5 Comments


  1. Steve Harrison

    September 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    What is this, the fifth Republican to resign without serving out their elected term? Or the sixth?

    I think we’ve passed the point where voters could (should) make the claim that the GOP is not interested in fulfilling its obligations to the people, but is interested in how that elected office can serve their future economic needs.

  2. Joseph

    September 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Surely if a liberal Democrat state lawmaker were to resign and become a lobbyist for a favored cause, such as the environment, public health, or public education, you would excoriate her just as vociferously. I have every confidence that you would. Really and truly, I do.

    As for Erv Portman, he quit his seat on Cary’s town council before his first term was up so that he could be appointed as a Wake County commissioner. Then, within mere months, he was running for the state legislature. How’s that for devotion to one’s duties?

    Twice now, Portman has self-servingly decided to quit his first term in office to seek another political job. That is quite the revolving door, folks! Portman has hardly “fulfilled his obligations to the people.” Since you embrace neutral principles and are fair-minded, I’m sure you will agree.

    Richard Stevens, by contrast, served conscientiously for 10 years as state Senator, where he earned broad bipartisan respect, he is not up for re-election, the session is long over, and his work there is done.

    And that followed more than two decades of admirable public service in local government, as well as to the state university system. Richard Stevens is a person of tremendous ability, honor, and integrity, as everyone who has worked with him knows — including NCPW.

    You could at least acknowledge that, and contrast Richard Stevens’ decades of meritorious public service with Erv Portman’s thin gruel and his abject failure to complete any of his appointed rounds.

  3. david esmay

    September 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Joseph, you had me until you got to the part about a NC Republican with ability, honor, and integrity, as he walks across the street to cash in on influence peddling.

  4. Steve Harrison

    September 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    “Twice now, Portman has self-servingly decided to quit his first term in office to seek another political job.”

    The first one was on him, the second one was on the voters.

  5. […] No Comments The Fayetteville Observer gets it right this morning with this editorial about the recent resignations of powerful state legislators Harold Brubaker and Richard Stevens who quickly moved to cash in the world of political consulting and lobbying. “Nobody’s […]

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