Monday, November 28, 2011

Perdue's ethics pledge takes another stumble

Tuesday's Observer editorial:

There was a time not too long ago, believe it or not, when North Carolina was regarded as having an unusually clean government. Then came Meg Scott Phipps and Jim Black and Michael Decker and Frank Ballance and Thomas Wright and Gov. Mike Easley, felons all.

Gov. Bev Perdue doesn’t belong on that list, at least based on what the public knows so far. Her campaign, though, must surely be added to the record of those that have brought shame on this great state. Authorities have said Perdue is not a target of their probe. But a Wake County grand jury on Monday indicted three of her associates with felonies, and the responsibility for her campaign’s actions ultimately rests with her.

Perdue’s campaign finance director, Peter Reichard, crafted a felonious scheme to have a wealthy campaign donor give $32,000 more than the law allows to Perdue’s campaign to help pay the salary of campaign worker Julia Leigh Sitton, the grand jury says. The indictment also says Trawick Stubbs, a partner at the law firm of Perdue’s late husband, obstructed justice by paying for more than $28,000 in free flights for Perdue’s campaign without reporting them as such.

Federal investigators have been looking into Perdue’s campaign as well, so the public may not yet know the whole story. Here’s what we do know: After running on a pledge of honesty and openness, and amid Easley’s conviction, Perdue had an opportunity – a responsibility, actually – to ensure that her campaign was beyond reproach. She failed.

Her backers will point to the fact that authorities have not accused her of any wrongdoing. They will also remind residents that Perdue initiated efforts to uncover her campaign’s failures to obey the law on reporting flights.

That’s true, but it omits that Perdue’s zeal on this coincidentally emerged just as Easley was getting in increasingly hot water over his illegal campaign flights. And it does nothing to assuage voters’ concerns over how Reichard, a member of the governor’s inner circle, could possibly be committing felonies under her nose.

N.C. Democratic Party Chairman David Parker’s full focus Monday was on the next election. He expressed no concern or outrage that some prominent Democrats were, according to authorities, breaking the law. Instead, he accused Republicans of trying “to score cheap political points.”

He said “it’s time to move on.” No, it’s not. It’s time for public corruption in North Carolina to stop. It’s time for Perdue to keep her campaign pledge of complete transparency. It’s time for the emergence of leaders who can be trusted to care more about the public than about raising campaign cash.

The courts’ interpretation of the First Amendment has helped let America’s elections become poisoned by many hundreds of millions of special-interest dollars. The 2012 elections will surely be more awash in cash than ever. All the more reason, then, for voters to demand that candidates fully reveal who is funding them, and that those who try to skirt the system face a punishment others will never forget.


John said...

"Gov. Bev Perdue doesn’t belong on that list, at least based on what the public knows so far. "

Actually, yes she does. Does anyone really believe that this happened totally without her knowledge? Of course not!

Don't forget that she also had a lead investigator (Kim Strach) reassigned to other duties early in the investigations.

I can't help but find it amusing that the CO which owes it's very existence to the First Amendment, appears to be blaming political corruption on "the Court's interpretation..." of it! Like most liberals, you are only fine with the First Amendment when it protects speech with which YOU agree!

Garth Vader said...

"Then came Meg Scott Phipps and Jim Black and Michael Decker and Frank Ballance and Thomas Wright and Gov. Mike Easley, DEMOCRAT felons all."

Added the word the Observer editorial board would NEVER put in that sentence. (Yes, Decker was a Democrat when the Black-for-speaker bribe-a-thon happened).

Garth Vader said...

"America’s elections become poisoned by many hundreds of millions"

Then why are half the Observer's election stories simple rehashes of fundraising reports?

Unknown said...

The article seemed to miss Tony Rand, Marc Basnight, David Hoyle, Bob Pittenger, and the Dem favorite, Sen Soles from eastern NC. Crooks all in their own sleazy ways.

Skippy said...

Not to mention Mike Nifong, Roy Cooper, Harry Jones, Nick Mackey. You Dems are on a roll.

Don't worry Bev, your CO endorsement is still secure in their lockbox.