Today’s must read article on Policy Watch’s main site is Sarah Ovaska’s in-depth look at the sizable campaign contributions made by the individuals now being considered for the UNC Board of Governors.
Here’s an excerpt from Ovaska’s article:
The 30 people currently vying for appointment to the board and their immediate family member have contributed more than $1 million to state campaign accounts since 2007, according to an analysis conducted by Democracy North Carolina, a government watchdog group, for N.C. Policy Watch.
The most generous of this year’s applicants, by far, is John Fennebresque, the current chair of the UNC Board of Governors. Fennebresque, who is up for reappointment from the state Senate, and his wife have sent more than $260,000 to campaign coffers since 2007.
Both the House and Senate are expected to vote on their slate of candidates this week, and each will choose eight individuals to serve four-year terms on the board that set policies and oversee the state’s 17-campuses in North Carolina’s university system. (Click here and here to see a full slate of candidates, and scroll down to bottom for breakdown of contributions.)
The UNC Board of Governors has long been a place where campaign contributors and their family members are rewarded with seats on the prominent board, said Bob Hall, the executive director of Democracy North Carolina. That happened when Democrats controlled state as well as now, as Republicans call the shots in the state legislature and the governor’s office.
“It’s been the case that political donors and fundraisers get into this prestigious position of guiding the university and getting the perks that come with that,” Hall said. “It is pay to play.”
That leaves the average citizen at a disadvantage, he said, with the members of the university governing board that makes policy decisions about tuition increases, financial aid and campus needs coming from elite segments of the state.