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Thom TillisIn North Carolina, state laws written in the post-Jim Black era (see in particular G.S. 138A-32) make it illegal for lobbyists to give anything of value to state legislators. As a general matter, the state has a “no cup of coffee” rule; lobbyists can’t buy legislators a round of golf or a lunch or even a mocha latte.

Unfortunately, there remain lots of ways around this prohibition in which lobbyists can funnel cash to powerful politicians. And make no mistake, many politicians aren’t shy about explaining this to lobbyists.

Consider the latest fundraising solicitation from House Speaker Thom Tillis (pictured at left) and the North Carolina Republican House Caucus.

After inviting all-comers to pay up to $10,000 to get 12 admission tickets and a special photo opportunity with House leaders at the group’s 2013 “Opening Day Celebration” tomorrow, the solicitation says the following: Read More

You’d have thought caring and thinking Americans would have learned the lesson once and for all when five conservative justices of the Supreme Court installed George W. Bush as President in 2000. More recently here in North Carolina, the message was delivered loud and clear by House Speaker Thom Tillis when he made plain his plans to “divide and conquer” his political opponents and then went about holding an unannounced legislative session in the middle of the night to punish groups who dared oppose his plans. And in just the last few weeks, a new chapter in the book of brazen, hardball politics was written with the selection of the state’s leading right-wing political spender as our new state budget director.

And still, it always seems to come as a shock each time the win-at-all-costs far right breaches yet another rule of common political decency, respect and courtesy. It’s as if the following thought process occurs over and over in the minds of progressives: 

  1. “Well, at least we’ve got that problem contained. The conservatives will have to work to find common ground now.”
  2. “Did you hear what some reporter said the right-wing is considering? They wouldn’t do that would they?
  3. “Son of a gun! I can’t believe they did that! These people have absolutely no shame.”

The latest installment in this familar pattern occurred yesterday here in Wake County when the right-wing majority of the County Board of Commissioners, Read More

These are interesting and confusing times in North Carolina politics. And with the hostile takeover of state government by chain store magnate Art Pope virtually complete, it looks like the lines will only get blurrier and more confusing. Check out this rather remarkable excerpt from a fundraiser sent out by the Pope-Civitas Institute on New Year’s Eve: 

Dear Friend, 

Big changes are happening here in the “Old North State”.

We have a new governor, and a more conservative legislature.

But that’s not the only news, two former Civitas staff members are now in responsible positions in state government. And we plan on holding them accountable! Read More

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You’ve got to hand it to the right-wing AstroTurf groups like Americans for the Prosperous. These people and the big money plutocrats they shill for won a sweeping victory in the gerrymandered 2012 North Carolina election and they’re still screaming at Governor Perdue and calling her names.

Maybe they just have more money than they know what to do with in their budget line item for “Annoying and Offensive Robocalls” but it really is pretty amazing that these people are going to the trouble of launching a full-fledged P.R. campaign against the Guv for..well…for doing her job. 

In case you missed it,  Read More