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

“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.


In case you missed it, the Fayetteville Observer had this to say over the weekend about the issue of recent campaign contributions from corrupt gambling interests to Gov. McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Berger, Speaker Tillis and others:

“It’s clear that campaign-finance reforms haven’t gone far enough. The laws may be better, but enforcement is weak.

The Board of Elections needs to conduct a full, unbiased and public investigation that follows the money wherever it goes.

And the General Assembly needs to follow up by giving state regulators the tools they need to spot illegal campaign contributions quickly.”

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.


Veteran state capital journalist Scott Mooneyham frequently has some of the best takes on the developments in Raleigh and the column cross-posted below (which was distributed yesterday by the NC Insider) is another example:

Your Winnings, Sir
By Scott Mooneyham
March 18, 2013

RALEIGH — One of the most fascinating news conferences that I ever attended came during the tenure of former Democratic state House Speaker Jim Black.

Black was defending legislation to legalize video poker, trying to make the point that the industry created jobs. My predecessor in this columnist gig, Paul O’Connor, had a simple question for the House speaker: How about prostitution?

“It’s jobs too,” O’Connor said.

He wasn’t serious about legalizing prostitution. O’Connor was trying to make the point that plenty of other morally questionable and currently illegal behavior could generate jobs too, if that were the only criteria that lawmakers need consider. Read More


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


Here’s a smidgen of good news for the holidays: Forces promoting legalized online gambling have decided to drop their efforts for now. As we reported in last week’s edition of the Weekly Briefing,  the casino industry had been advancing a proposal in Congress to legalize fully-fledged, 365-days-a-year, 24-hours-a day, online gambling for cash for the first time in our nation’s history.

Fortunately, for now, the proposal has been abandoned. Unfortunately, however, you can bet (for cash or chips) that the industry will be back in 2013.