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As the good people at Democracy NC point out in the lengthy statement below, the new controversey over an alleged racketeer with big campaign finance connections to North Carolina’s political power structure raises some important and disturbing questions:

Sweepstakes Gambling Operator is Top Donor to NC Legislators; Donations with Ties to McCrory’s Law Firm Raise Questions

The man at the center of a national gambling scandal that caused Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll of Florida to resign last week played a surprisingly large – and mysterious – role in financing North Carolina politicians in 2012, according to new research by the election reform group Democracy North Carolina: Read More

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The outside spending spree on the race for a seat on North Carolina’s Supreme Court continues to set records. As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported this morning, a conservative group spent $1.3 million on one TV ad alone.

Interestingly, the spree has given rise to competing views from thoughtful sources as to what, if anything, we should do about all this.

The Charlotte Observer says that enough is enough:   Read More

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This is just in from the good people at Democracy North Carolina:

Legislative Leaders Are Setting Record for Fundraising from Special Interests; Speaker’s Solicitation Called “Shakedown

Despite efforts to reduce the influence of lobbyists and special interests in political fundraising, the top leaders of the NC General Assembly are on pace to break two records, according to a review of disclosure reports by the watchdog group Democracy North Carolina:

(1) they are raising more money from special-interest political action committees (PACs) than any of their predecessors, and

(2) they are relying more heavily on PACs to reach and exceed the large fundraising totals of past legislative leaders – in the range of $1 million and beyond. Read More

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NC Voters for Clean Elections is out with a new and, sadly, not terribly surprising report on the big campaign money flowing from the pro-fracking crowd. This is from the release that accompanied the report:

RALEIGH, N.C. – As North Carolina lawmakers take up a new bill on hydraulic fracturing, the much-debated energy drilling method commonly known as “fracking,” a new report finds that energy interests tied to fracking gave campaign contributions to more than 100 state legislators between 2009 and 2011.

The report by N.C. Voters for Clean Elections, a state coalition focused on the role of money in politics, also finds that legislators who supported a pro-fracking bill in 2011 received more than triple the amount of campaign money from energy interests than did opponents of the legislation. Read More

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You’ve got to hand it to House Speaker Thom Tillis: the man has a remarkable amount of gall.

Who else would call a press conference to announce a new initiative to go after “fraud” in the unemployment insurance system (mind you, it’s only worker “fraud” that the Speaker cares about — not employer fraud) on the same day that nonpartisan watchdogs and media outlets are questioning HIS embarrassingly inaccurate campaign finance reports.

The Locke people have posted a video of the entire press event – you have to fast forward to the last couple minutes to hear Tillis do his best Ralph Kramden “homina, homina, homina” impression when reporters ask him about his inaccurate reports.  

According to Tillis it’s all the fault of his “volunteer treasurer” Read More