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videopoker2-08Will the new State Board of Elections be a genuine watchdog or a rubber stamp for political powers that be? Today’s initial meeting of the new group appointed by Governor McCrory should provide some interesting signals.

As Mark Binker reported earlier this week at WRAL.com:

“Aside from appointing new leaders, one of the first decisions facing the newly appointed board will be whether to proceed with an investigation into campaign donations from owners of electronic sweepstakes companies. Those companies are pushing for legislation that would legalize the gambling-like games.

Current board members have said they were ready to direct the staff to pursue an investigation of whether top leaders such as McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger received corporate contributions from a sweepstakes software provider. “

Here is a link to a summary of the complaint filed by Democracy NC about the very troubling sweepstakes issue, which among other things, involves Gov. McCrory’s former employer (a law/lobbying firm) and bundled checks to the Governor’s campaign.

Stay tuned.

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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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Paul Woolverton of the Fayetteville Observer has an excellent story this morning about the House’s all-of-a-sudden flirtation with legalzing and regulating “sweepstakes” gambling parlors. We’ll have more later today about this idea in the Weekly Briefing, but most of what you need to know about this whole “industry” was revealed yesterday by Woolverton as he tweeted about the committee meeting in real time.

During the hearing, bill sponsor, Rep. Bill Owens, was asked about the idea of expanding legalized gambling in the state. Here was his response as tweeted by Woolverton:

“It’s not really gambling, it’s predetermined you’re going to lose.”

Great! That sounds like a fine new business for the state to bless.