One of the best commentaries yet on the brewing scandal surrounding the McCrory administration’s boneheaded interactions with a prison contractor/campaign contributor comes from the always amusing Barry Saunders of Raleigh’s News & Observer. This is from Saunders’ latest column (“My outrage about this prison story? How cheap it all is”):
“Great day in the morning! The real estate magnate contributed $12,000 to McCrory’s gubernatorial campaign, yet McCrory – according to our story – trekked to Charlotte on Oct. 28, 2014, to help Keith make the case that he should keep his $3-million-per-year prison maintenance contracts. Never mind that state officials felt the state could handle the job more efficiently and with more safety, savings and accountability.
Keith’s little-bitty largess bought a place at the table with the governor and other state officials, a table at which – according to a memo of the meeting – Keith proclaimed that since politicians had danced to the music, they now had to pay the piper. That since he had greased their palms, it was time for them to grease his, too.
Only difference appears to be that he greased theirs with a thimbleful and they greased his with a big ol’ tub o’ lard.
McCrory acknowledged being at the meeting, at the table, even, but said he didn’t hear the big payback pronouncement because he must’ve been engaged in a side deal – I mean a side conversation.
Anything is possible, but it’s hard to believe that McCrory, seated at the same table, didn’t hear what the stentorian, 6’5” former jock said about the reciprocation he expected. According to the memo, ‘The meeting began with the Governor McCrory making a few remarks and turning the meeting over to Graeme Keith.’”
Saunders goes on to point out that Keith gave lots of dough to Democrats in his time too and just how modest and commonplace such a contribution is:
“Who knew you could buy influence for that kind of lightweight lettuce?
I’ll tell you what: If we’d known that political influence could be bought so cheaply in North Carolina, my buddies and I would have churched up 10 years ago, bought us a pol and ensured that we kept the late, lamented 14 Karat Dinner Theater open.
If word gets out that our governor can be summoned for less than the bag boy at Piggly Wiggly makes annually – $12,000 comes out to about $6 an hour – McCrory will be a laughingstock at the next national governors’ ball.”
Sadly, Saunders is probably right on the money. Read the entire column by clicking here.