Tuesday, June 9, 2009

N.C. Democrats Jettison Gas Tax Relief

As we begin the hot summer months, North Carolina Democrats have acted to prevent working families from receiving much needed relief at the gas pump. State taxes were scheduled to drop 2 cents on a gallon of gas in July. So what did N.C. Democrats do? They stopped it from happening. That would be against their apparent policy preference when it comes to taxes: not a dime left behind. Democrats also put in place new legislation to prevent any relief for consumers through 2011, likely as a precursor to eventually raising the gas tax.
NC gasoline tax change gets final legislative OK

By Gary D. Robertson
Associated Press
June 8, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Lawmakers gave final approval Monday night to change North Carolina's gasoline tax, three years after their decision to cap the tax pleased motorists but sent road-building revenues nearly a half-billion dollars lower than projected.

The bill passed the House by a 64-52 vote and is likely to be signed into law by Gov. Beverly Perdue. It would mean taxes at the pump won't go down 2 cents a gallon to 27.9 cents on July 1 as expected under current law.

The change would turn a cap on the gasoline tax at 29.9 cents per gallon into a floor - meaning it could go no lower than 29.9 cents through the middle of 2011. ...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Easley Scandal Fallout Continues

N.C. State fires Mary Easley

By Jay Price & J. Andrew Curliss
News & Observer

N.C. State University's Board of Trustees has terminated the contract of Mary Easley.

The trustees said the duties of Easley's job no longer exist and her departure from N.C. State would be in the best interest of the university.

Records: Mike Easley involved in hiring

By J. Andrew Curliss
News & Observer

New documents show that the Mary Easley job at N.C. State University was orchestrated at the highest levels of state government, and included the direct involvement of then-Gov. Mike Easley.

E-mail messages show the creation of the job for Mary Easley was orchestrated in April and May of 2005 by the governor and that her job formation also included his wife, Mary; the chancellor at N.C. State, James Oblinger; a key trustee, McQueen Campbell; a senior adviser to Easley who now heads the Golden Leaf Foundation, Dan Gerlach; and an NCSU lobbyist at the time, Andy Willis.

Until now, officials have all denied any involvement in the hiring other than by former Provost Larry Nielsen, who the records show was also involved in creating the position that gave Mary Easley an $80,000, three-year contract to oversee a speakers series and help teach a class.

Click here for the full article...

NCSU loses third top official amid Easley questions

Cover-Up Coming Unraveled

Senate Republican Leader Press Release
June 8, 2009

New documents released by N.C. State University officials as part of a federal investigation show that former Governor Mike Easley and members of his administration were directly involved in the creation of a position for his wife and her subsequent hiring by the university. In addition, N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger resigned today on the heels of weekend reports in The News & Observer that he misled the public regarding the size and length of the severance package given to former N.C. State Provost Larry Nielsen.

Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger issued the following statement:

“There clearly has been a concerted effort to cover up the circumstances surrounding Mary Easley’s hiring and employment at N.C. State. The new revelations that Mike Easley was directly involved in the hiring of his wife only confirm many of our worst suspicions. Powerful Democrats in state government have ceased pursuing public service and begun trading exclusively in privilege and power. Meanwhile, Democratic legislative leaders have become co-conspirators in this corruption by turning a blind eye to wrongdoing and adamantly refusing to ask the questions that might uncover the truth.”

“The revelations in The News & Observer this weekend that Chancellor James Oblinger illegally changed the terms of former N.C. State Provost Larry Nielsen’s severance package and misled the public regarding the terms of that package are another black mark on NC State resulting from the Easley Scandal. This weekend’s reports left Chancellor Oblinger no choice other than to resign.”

“The News & Observer has done the public a great service by doggedly seeking to uncover the truth in the face of this cover up. The N.C. State Board of Trustees, interim Board Chairman Bob Jordan, and University System President Erskine Bowles also deserve credit for constructively working to end this embarrassment.”

“Unfortunately, Governor Bev Perdue and Legislative Democrats continue working to cover up the Easley Scandal. Legislative Democrats must begin an exhaustive investigation into this scandal or get out of the way so Republicans can.”

“Accountability begins at the top levels of leadership. Governor Perdue should provide the leadership North Carolinians want from her and immediately demand the resignation of Mary Easley. Governor Perdue was not elected to watch as a scandal rages on and the fallout deepens. She was elected to provide accountability and now is the time for her to prove she is willing to do so.”

“It is time for Governor Perdue and Legislative Democrats to do three things: 1. Join University President Bowles, legislative Republicans, and newspaper editorial boards across the state in demanding Mary Easley’s resignation. 2. Move immediately to defund Mary Easley’s faculty position. 3. Join with Republicans to hold legislative oversight hearings seeking to end corruption in State Government by determining how Mary Easley’s contract was agreed to and how the State Highway Patrol ‘lost’ more than a year of Mike Easley’s travel records.”

Pat McCrory to Address Republicans at 2009 NCGOP Convention

RALEIGH—Mayor Pat McCrory will address grassroots Republicans at the 2009 NCGOP Convention to be held from June 12-14 at the Raleigh Convention Center. Mayor McCrory will kick off the convention by speaking to delegates at the top of the first business session on Friday afternoon. He will deliver an address entitled "The Road to Victory." For a full schedule of events for the 2009 NCGOP Convention, click here.

Chairman Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party, made the following statement:

"I am extremely excited to have the mayor of my hometown and a good friend addressing the 2009 NCGOP Convention. As a highly effective mayor and visionary leader, Pat McCrory is just the right person to help North Carolina grassroots Republicans set a course for the future. Pat is the kind of leader that makes fellow Republicans proud to be on his team. It will be an honor to have him with us for our convention."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Honoring the 100th Anniversary of Ronald Reagan's Birth

President Ronald Reagan, in a way unlike anyone else, defined what it meant to be a Republican and a conservative. President Reagan faced every crisis with dignity, optimism, a belief in the inherent righteousness of the American ideal, and a belief in the enduring goodness of the American people.

There is no better way to honor the man than to study the timeless truth of the principles he espoused during his lifetime. This passage comes from a section of President Reagan's First Inaugural Address delivered on January 20, 1981.

"Idle industries have cast workers into unemployment, causing human misery and personal indignity. Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity.

But great as our tax burden is, it has not kept pace with public spending. For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.

You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?

We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding—we are going to begin to act, beginning today.

The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we, as Americans, have the capacity now, as we have had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Congressman Mike Pence to Speak at 2009 NCGOP Convention

Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) will speak to North Carolina Republicans during the 2009 NCGOP Convention held June 12-14 at the Raleigh Convention Center. Congressman Pence will be a special guest at the evening banquet on Friday, June 12.

Pence was first elected to Congress in 2000 and was most recently elected to a fifth term in November of 2008. He also was elected unanimously by House Republicans to serve as House Republican Conference Chairman in November 2008. In his role as Conference Chairman, he helps to develop and disseminate the message of the Republican Conference and to promote its members.

Congressman Pence describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order."

Chairman Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party, made the following statement:

“We are incredibly pleased to have Congressman Pence join us as a special guest and speaker at our 2009 convention. Congressman Pence is not only a visionary and a bold advocate for conservative principles, but he is also a man of great humility and integrity. We are honored to have him as a guest in North Carolina and look forward to hearing him cast a vision for making our party stronger and better."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Teachers and Students Suffer While Democrats Protect Easleys

RALEIGH— At a meeting today, Terri Lomax, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies at N.C. State University, announced a moratorium on the creation of new academic centers. This announcement will have a direct impact on the job of former first lady Mary Easley. When Easley was promoted and given a five-year contract and an 88-percent raise last year, her new duties included creating the Public Safety Leadership Center at N.C. State. That center will no longer be created, and therefore, one of the substantial portions of Mary Easley's $170,000 a year job will not be performed. It is uncertain how the change will affect Mary Easley's job status.

The NCGOP has begun the "Perdue Watch" on its Seeing Red Again blog to mark the time that Governor has been watching instead of acting to end the Mary Easley scandal. You can view the blog here.

Chairman Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party, made the following statement:

"It has been more than nine days since this issue first came to a head and calls for Mary Easley's resignation began piling up. Governor Perdue has refused to do anything about the situation but watch from the sidelines while tolerating corruption and mismanagement of taxpayer money. It was outrageous to spend $850,000 to pay Mary Easley to create the center. It is incredulous that the state would pay Mary Easley $850,000 to not create the center while public school teachers are taking a pay cut and resources are being drained from our children's classrooms. For Governor Perdue and Democrats in the General Assembly to ask teachers and students to bear the burden of a $4 billion budget deficit while they continue to protect the Easleys proves just how out of touch they are with the challenges facing North Carolina's working families. Governor Perdue can act to end this scandal or she can continue to watch it happen. It's her choice."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Old Dogs, New Tricks

There are two reasons you may find it difficult to teach an old dog new tricks. First, the dog is old. It doesn't want to learn new tricks. Or second, the dog doesn't see anything wrong with the old tricks and wants to keep using them.

Carter Wrenn has the breakdown on the political elites who form the Democrat leadership in state government and why they just can't seem to learn any new tricks to stop the cycle of corruption.
A Democratic Congressman, Agriculture Commissioner, Speaker of the House and two legislators have all gone to prison; as a result the surviving Democrats over in the General Assembly have taken to pounding their breasts about how they’re fighting corruption – but, in fact, they haven’t done anything. ...

The reason the Democrats have done nothing – other than posture – is they just can’t see that there is any corruption.

In their eyes junkets to Italy and giving state jobs to the governors’ wife are just two of the natural emoluments of political power;—indulging in a little ‘honest graft’ is a just one of the defacto rights that comes with getting elected and it’s neither unusual or wrong.

For instance, take a look at the Democrats reaction to Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger’s saying he wants to defund Mary Easley’s job.

The very idea sent the Senate Ethic’s Committee into a paroxysm of rage – it promptly told Berger if he even dared to try to eliminate that job he’d better get ready to get hauled up before the tribunal himself – for violating the Ethics Laws.

So here’s the Senate Ethics Committee’s official position: There’s nothing wrong with the governor influence peddling to get his wife a $170,000 job – but if Phil Berger tries to eliminate that job he’s violating State Ethics Law. ...

Early Bird Registration Extended for 2009 NCGOP Convention

Early Bird Registration has been extended to June 5!

Register today for the Early Bird rate!

North Carolina Republicans will meet for the 2009 NCGOP Convention on June 12-14 at the Raleigh Convention Center. The NCGOP is pleased to announce that motivational speaker, author, and talk show host Mason Weaver will join us for the Saturday evening banquet. We are also pleased to announce a Jesse Helms tribute luncheon on Saturday. More details are soon to follow. We look forward to seeing you in Raleigh for the 2009 NCGOP Convention! Don't miss this exciting opportunity to shape the future of the North Carolina Republican Party!


**Note: If you choose to pre-register for the 2009 NCGOP convention, you must still check-in and pick up registration materials during the appointed times. Check-in and registration will close at 11:00 AM on Saturday. No exceptions will be made. Click HERE for the 2009 NCGOP convention schedule.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NCGOP Announces Mason Weaver as Special Guest and Speaker at 2009 NCGOP Convention

Mason Weaver will speak to North Carolina Republicans at the 2009 NCGOP Convention held June 12-14 at the Raleigh Convention Center. He will be a special guest at the Saturday evening banquet. Mr. Weaver is a motivational speaker, author, and talk show host. He has been training, educating, teaching and reaching thousands with his messages of hope for the future and empowering individuals with the tools they need to become the driving forces for positive change.

After approximately 2800 pounds of steel and iron plates fell on him, while on active naval duty in San Diego, California, the Navy classified him disabled and discharged him. However, Weaver turned his story of tragedy into a story of triumph as he graduated college, won a position with the U.S. Department of Energy, and later became a business consultant and entrepreneur.

Mason Weaver has appeared on national TV, cable and news programs. He is often contacted by national news organizations to comment on breaking stories. Weaver has also hosted a live call in radio program and wrote a weekly column on social and political issues. He soon became a sought after public speaker and lecturer for his extraordinary view of government and business. Noted for his quick wit, vigorous debate and forceful oratory, Mason is a challenge to the opposition and an instructive persuasive counselor to allies.

NCGOP Chairman Linda Daves said, "We are honored to have Mason Weaver join us as a speaker at the 2009 NCGOP Convention. Mason's story of initiative and effort to trun tragedy to triumph is one that is relevant to Republicans as we strive to build a stronger and better Republican Party in North Carolina. Mason has been a favorite of grassroots activists from the North Carolina Federation of Republican Women and his words are sure to inspire and motivate the grassroots at our convention."

Learn more about Mason Weaver by visiting his website at http://www.masonweaver.com/.

Click HERE to register for the 2009 NCGOP Convention today!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Berger Puzzled by 'Ethics' Interpretation

Mary Easley’s job funding at issue

Senate Republican Leader Press Release
May 26, 2009

Raleigh, N.C. – Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) today called on the Democratic co-chairmen of the Legislative Ethics Committee to determine whether an effort to abolish funding for Mary Easley’s $170,000 per year position at N.C. State University would violate ethics rules. Late last week, legislative staff advised House Republican Leader Paul Stam (R-Wake) that it may be unethical to propose elimination of funding for Mary Easley’s position even though she is not subject to the State Personnel Act. Berger is concerned that if this opinion is adopted by the full Ethics Committee, it would silence discussion of the circumstances surrounding Mary Easley’s hiring and quash efforts to resolve the issue through the budgeting process.

“It is inconceivable to me that bipartisan efforts to resolve the embarrassing circumstances surrounding Mary Easley’s hiring could be derailed as ‘unethical,’” said Berger. “This type of convoluted reasoning illustrates what a lot of people see as wrong with state government.”

UNC System President Erskine Bowles and N.C. State Board of Trustees Chairman Bob Jordan have called for Mary Easley to resign. If she does not resign, Bowles has said university officials could act on her position when they write the university budget for the coming fiscal year.

Below is the text of Berger’s letter to Sen. Steve Goss and Rep. Rick Glazier:

Dear Senator Goss and Representative Glazier:

I do not know if you are aware of an opinion that has been rendered by staff in response to a question presented by Representative Stam. A copy of his request and the staff response is enclosed. I request a formal opinion from the Legislative Ethics Committee as to whether any attempt by a member of the North Carolina General Assembly to eliminate funding for Mary Easley’s contract with North Carolina State University would be an ethical violation.

I am astonished that Rep. Stam’s inquiry would illicit this response. To equate the effort to resolve a situation that is highly embarrassing to the State of North Carolina, the university system and North Carolina State University with the reason behind this statute is to elevate legalism over common sense.

For the record, I have publicly stated that if Mrs. Easley fails to resign, the governor and the General Assembly should eliminate funding for her contract. While it is my understanding that her position is not subject to the State Personnel Act, I am particularly troubled by any blanket assertion that G.S. 120-86.1 would trigger ethical sanctions.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this request.


Philip E. Berger
Republican Leader
North Carolina Senate

Monday, May 25, 2009

Honor Memorial Day

Memorial Day serves as a time for all Americans to reflect on those who have fallen, both past and present, in service to their country. While protecting the values that we hold most dear, brave young men and women have paid what Abraham Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion” to their native land. Their courage and sacrifice form the hallmark of the greatness of our state and nation. We take time to remember and honor those who have sacrificed for the cause of freedom and those who are protecting us throughout the world today.

In November of 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, President Lincoln after a great battle took time to dedicate the battlefield to the fallen soldiers. In a short speech that would later come to be known as the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln delivered these words:

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

We take heart even on this day of reverence that though we have lost many in the great history of this republic in service to our nation, their memory will never be forgotten. Their devotion to God and country lives on and reminds us that a new birth of freedom is a promise still possible.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Michael Steele: GOP Comeback Has Begun

Chairman Linda Daves said,I agree with Chairman Steele. The era of apologizing for past Republican mistakes is over. We have turned the corner and we are looking into a much brighter future. Right here in North Carolina, We plan to stand firm for conservative principles because our values are the values of people in communities across our state. We plan to advocate on behalf of the unemployed of our state to boost the private sector and small businesses so that more North Carolinians ready to work can find employers ready to hire. We plan to work for working families to ensure that government does not keep spending us into record debt while the poor and middle class suffer the consequences. Finally, we plan to stamp out the culture of corruption that plagues state government under Democrat leadership and force Governor Perdue to do the right thing. We hope you will join our cause.”

Burr, Fellow Republicans Introduce Patients' Choice Act

An Alternative to Obamacare

By Tom Coburn, Richard Burr, Paul Ryan & David Nunes
May 20, 2009

While President Obama may believe the stars are aligned for major health reform this year it is far from certain whether Congress will pass a bill that works. The groups that are most likely to unravel this effort are not the president's opponents, but his allies. Nothing will rally ordinary Americans against the president's plan more than his allies arguing too forcefully for a system run by politicians and bureaucrats in Washington - what we call the "public option" in the Obama plan.

It should come as no surprise that this ideologically rigid position is coming under fire. As the Washington Post recently wrote, "the fixation on a public plan is bizarre and counterproductive ... It is entirely possible to imagine effective health-care reform - changes that would expand coverage and help control costs - without a public option."

We agree. We have introduced a comprehensive health care reform bill, the Patients' Choice Act that, we believe, will bring us far closer to the goal of universal coverage than the Obama plan. Our bill, in specific legislative language, does the following:

Puts affordable coverage and choice within reach of all Americans. We do this by first ending the discrimination in the tax code that rewards corporations and employers for offering insurance yet offers no benefit to the unemployed and is unfair to the self-employed. Our current tax laws are a relic of the 1940's when Americans stayed in the same job far longer than they do today. It's time for a reboot.

Specifically, we would shift health care tax benefits to individuals and families in the form of a "Medi-Choice" tax rebate worth about $2,200 for individuals and $5,700 for families. Under our plan, if you like the health care you have, you can keep it - but you'll have more money in your pocket because you will still receive a tax rebate. ...

Prevents cherry picking by guaranteeing access to coverage. Even though we're confident that less government interference and more individual choice will control costs and improve quality and access, we recognize that markets can't solve all problems. That's why our bill prevents cherry picking - when insurance companies choose to cover only healthy patients - by equalizing risk across insurance companies and reversing the perverse incentives that leave those most vulnerable with the fewest options. ...

Strengthens the health care safety net. Currently, about 40 percent of doctors and hospitals do not accept Medicaid patients because payments are so low. This means that needy moms and kids may have health coverage, but poor access to health care. We remove the stigma from Medicaid recipients and give them the ability to purchase the health coverage and care they need from any provider. We preserve Medicaid for the blind, aged, and disabled and we eliminate widespread fraud in the programs. We do all this and still save states and the federal government about $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years.

Finally, our bill accomplishes these goals without spending any new federal money, or raising taxes. If this sounds too good to be true, we would note that the problem in health care is not that we don't spend enough, but that Americans aren't getting enough value for their dollars. On a per capita basis, America spends nearly twice what other industrialized nations spend on health care yet we are hardly twice as healthy. ...

The Obama plan promises change and progress, but it is based on old ideas. For the past 50 years, the Left has promised that a little more government intervention and spending will fix health care. If Washington can effectively run a health program like Obama's public option, why are Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health programs in such disrepair? ...

The American people deserve better. Congress should be looking to 2040, not 1940 or 1965. We can achieve universal access to quality, affordable health care without bankrupting our children with trillions more in debt or imposing draconian tax hikes on all Americans. It can be done, and the Patients' Choice Act shows us how.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bad Lawbreaking Does Not Make For Good Lawmaking

Rob Schofield in his latest piece for NC Policy Watch, a liberal/progressive NC think tank, makes the argument that Mike Easley's downfall is good for the progressive movement within the state. Not only does Schofield fail to chafe at the scandal, he almost revels is it as a means to the end of enacting a liberal agenda in state government. He lists five "good things for North Carolina and the progressive cause" to come out of the scandal even evoking the memory of Jim Black for #3.

"#3 – Scandal is good for passing even tougher laws – Lest there be any doubt, it’s worth remembering that the omnibus ethics and lobbying reforms of recent years are ultimately attributable to one man: Jim Black. ...

And so, with any luck, it will be Easley’s fall that will spur the next round of housecleaning and reform. At this moment, there are efforts pending in the General Assembly that would take the next logical steps to lessen the influence of big money in state politics. Let’s hope the apparent self-destruction of Mike Easley is just what is needed to help seal their final passage."

So let me get this straight. Liberals are actually arguing that the reason we need tougher ethics and lobbying laws is because their politicians keep breaking the laws we already have in place. I have actually had more than one liberal opiner argue with me that the Easley fiasco is a reason for campaign finance reform. No, it's not. The allegations against the former governor actually provide a perfect example of how political influence and money would be peddled under proposed campaign finance reform systems currently under consideration. Big money donors would trade services and off-the-books donations for influence and cushy political appointments from the candidates that they turn into elected officials.

When politicians break the laws governing their behavior in office, it doesn't prove you need better laws. It proves you need better politicians. We cannot legislate away greed and a lust for power, but we can choose to elect honest men and women of good character who are able to resist the twin seductions of money and influence and instead serve the people. In the next election, Republicans plan to offer candidates who will do just that.

Monday, May 18, 2009

McHenry Op-Ed: Congress Must Demand Accountability at the Fed

By Rep. Patrick McHenry
Hickory Daily Record
May 18, 2009

The Federal Reserve System was created in 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson and Congress. The Fed, as it is known, is a semi-public agency that serves as the central hub of our banking system.

The Fed's original mission was to regulate monetary policy in the United States, meaning that it would restrict and loosen the supply of money in circulation. Its objective was to achieve stable prices and maximum employment.

The Fed does this by setting interest rates. These rates impact the interest that Americans pay on our mortgages and car loans, for example.

Today, the scope of the Fed's responsibilities is much larger. It is the agency most responsible for overseeing our financial markets. The Fed may soon take on the role of the "systemic risk" regulator for America's financial system.

However, our laws have not kept pace with the Fed's expanded use of power. Therefore, very little information about its activities is disclosed to Congress and the American people. ...

Click here to read the rest of the article...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Easley Fallout Continues

FBI subpoenas Highway Patrol
"The FBI issued a subpoena to the state Highway Patrol today, ordering the agency to produce all records related to private air travel of the Easley family.

The request is made as part of a grand jury investigation, according to the documents. The grand jury meets next week, according to the subpoena, Andy Curliss reports.

Besides seeking information about the private travels of former Gov. Mike Easley, his wife Mary Easley and his son Michael Easley Jr., the subpoena requests documents relating to:

* Payments made in exchange for the air travel.
* Communications with the Easley family regarding the private travel.
* Communications regarding public inquiries surrounding the air travel.
* The state Highway Patrol's records retention policy.
* The retention or destruction of records related to travel by the Easley family."

State to investigate Easley campaign
"The state Board of Elections today launched a criminal probe of the Mike Easley campaign, officially closing the file to public inspection. ... The board has authority to investigate possible campaign law violations."

Campbell resigns from N.C. State
The chairman of the NCSU board has resigned after being asked by UNC System President Erskine Bowles to step down. He has been criticized for allowing former Democrat Governor Easley to fly his jet for free and also recommending Mary Easley for a job with the university.

Although only tangentially related to the Easley investigation, the announcement was awkwardly timed at best. At least this frees up the Attorney General to begin rooting out the corruption in state government by investigating fellow Democrats.

Daves Joins Call for Special Prosecutor to Investigate Easley

RALEIGH— Yesterday, Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger called for a special prosecutor to look into the alleged abuses of power and possible campaign finance law violations of former Democrat Governor Mike Easley. Berger said an independent investigator was needed because of Democrat Attorney General Roy Cooper's lack of action on the matter as he contemplates a run for the U.S. Senate.

"The silence from North Carolina's chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Roy Cooper, regarding these serious allegations is deafening," Berger said in a statement. "But we should not be surprised since most of those under scrutiny are Democrats, and he will not risk offending them while seeking their support for a possible U.S. Senate campaign."

He said a special prosecutor would be free from political pressures and conflicts of interest.

A Cooper spokeswoman said by e-mail that the Attorney General's Office won't comment on a current or potential investigation. Noelle Talley, the spokeswoman, did note that Cooper had investigated a number of high-profile Democrats, including Jim Black, Thomas Wright, Meg Scott Phipps and Frank Ballance.
("GOP leader: Give Easley special prosecutor," News & Observer, 5/15/09)

Chairman Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party, made the following statement:

"I join Senator Berger's call for a special prosecutor to look into the alleged lawbreaking of Mike Easley. If Roy Cooper cannot complete a more thorough investigation of the matter than can be conducted by an enterprising journalist, then he cannot be trusted with the task of leading this investigation. The very fact that his spokeswoman can list fellow Democrats that he has investigated only goes to prove that Democrats in state government are a particularly at-risk population for corrupt behaviors."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How the Other Half Lives

The North Carolina Republican Party released a video entitled "How the Other Half Lives" contrasting the lives of former Democrat Governor Mike Easley and his wife to the lives of the rest of North Carolina's citizens.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

McHenry: Keep Politics Out of it

By Rep. Patrick McHenry
Washington Times
May 13, 2009


The looming 2010 census has gotten considerable attention in Washington. In most cases, it has not been constructive. White House attempts to run the census in-house had two effects. First, they politicized our nation's largest peacetime mobilization. Second, they implied the Census Bureau is incapable of maintaining its high success rate.

Recent actions by the administration, while of a lower profile, elevate fresh concerns about the integrity and accuracy of the 2010 decennial. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has cautiously said he knows of "no plans" to test a statistical theory that adjusts census data. ...

In media reports of a questionnaire Mr. Groves completed in advance of his hearing, he characterized congressional Republicans as having been the source of efforts to politicize the census. This is patently absurd; with its attempts to circumvent the Commerce Department, the White House clearly crossed that line.

This confusing attempt at creating straw men out of House Republicans is not a harbinger of good things. The census has been apolitical for 219 years - this is not redistricting - and Republicans merely have asked that this tradition be preserved. While redistricting is a partisan tug of war, the data on which it is based should be unassailable.

The enumeration of the census is an Article I function of the Constitution that Congress has assigned to the Commerce Department. However, Congress retains its oversight responsibility. Led by our Oversight subcommittee Chairman William Lacy Clay, Missouri Democrat, we are merely doing our job.

Mr. Groves can move swiftly to vanquish another threat to the integrity of the 2010 census. The infamous political advocacy group ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is a member of the Census Partnership Program. Partners help recruit census takers. ACORN is an organization enamored of using government forms to commit fraud. The proposition of putting millions of census forms in its hands seems counterintuitive, to say the least.

On Monday, my Republican colleagues and I sent a letter to the bureau asking it to reconsider ACORN as a partner. According to the bureau's guidelines for participation, partners must not "distract from the Census Bureau's mission." If Mr. Groves thinks ACORN's reputation reflects positively on the bureau's mission, we have requested that he defend that position in writing to Congress.

Despite the litany of red flags from the administration, Congress should resist temptation to prejudge Mr. Groves. He can reassure the country that the 2010 census will be accurate and apolitical by ruling out tampering with census results and by dismissing ACORN. Or he can undermine the confidence of Congress and the American people. I respectfully encourage Mr. Groves to choose the former.

Click here to read the full article...

Foxx Cosponsors Bill to Keep Terrorist Detainees Out of NC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Virginia Foxx today cosponsored the Keep Terrorists out of America Act (H.R. 2294), a bill that gives governors and state legislatures the right to refuse the transfer of dangerous terrorists from the Guantanamo Bay prison to facilities in the U.S.

“Today Guantanamo Bay holds scores of the world’s most dangerous terrorists and President Obama has made it clear that he plans to close it down within the next nine months,” Foxx said. “Unfortunately it is not clear where the terrorists held at Guantanamo will be placed. This bill ensures that communities in North Carolina are not forced against their will to house terrorists who are bent on destroying our way of life.”

On January 22, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year. Since this decision was made, it has not become clear where the hundreds of inmates, including many of those who helped plan and facilitate the 9/11 attacks, will be placed.

The Keep Terrorists out of America Act prohibits the Administration from transferring or releasing any terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay to any state without the approval of the state’s governor and legislature. It also requires the President to meet strict certification standards before terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay prison are moved to U.S. soil.

“North Carolinians need to know the plan behind the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison,” Foxx said. “Important questions must be answered. Will these terrorists be transferred to North Carolina or anywhere else in the United States? Will they be released back onto the battlefield? North Carolinians deserve answers.”

Note: H.R. 2294 prohibits the President from transferring or releasing a terrorist detainee into the United States unless he provides notification and certification to Congress regarding:

 The name of the detainee and transfer/release location in the United States.
 The release/transfer would not negatively impact continued prosecution of the detainee.
 The release/transfer would not negatively impact continued detention of the detainee.
 The ability of federal judges to release detainees into the United States.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Media Watch: N&O Giving Conservatives Reason to be "Paranoid"

Whenever a conservative stands up to complain that the GOP or conservative causes or candidates are not getting a fair shake from the media, the sentiment is summarily dismissed as "paranoia" or some attempt at self-martyrdom. However, the latest episode involving Governor Easley's alleged misdeeds has shown a double standard being practiced on the editorial page of the News & Observer.

In editorials in today's paper here and here, you will find some harsh critiques of Governor Easley but conspicuously absent is any mention of the party affiliation of our former governor. You're just being paranoid, you say. It's an editorial page. You can't expect them to report party affiliations as if it were a straight news story.

Funny you say that because the N&O editors had no problems identifying Cary Allred as a Republican in unflattering articles that ran on the editorial page just last week.

An even bigger problem is that you see the Easley story already losing momentum. The story broke on a Friday, was in the weekend papers, and is already dwindling down to nothing.

Meanwhile, if there is a story to be reported that casts a negative light on a Republican officeholder, we often see it drag on for days or weeks with several follow-up pieces and reporters going back to the source for multiple comments. The story develops into a meme about all Republican officeholders and casts a negative light on all of our candidates. The GOP has dealing with that problem in one form or another for several years now and it is part of the reason the party finds itself where it currently sits when it comes to having candidates win elections.

For Easley, it's a two day story. The former governor typically stonewalls the media as does his attorney and that's that. Case closed.

This information was out there to be found during Easley's tenure. Conservative bloggers and writers in N.C. were putting this information out during the last election cycle and the mainstream media turned a blind eye. Until the media does a better job of reporting these continuous scandals on the other side in a timely and evenhanded manner, the politicians on the other side of the aisle will never pay a price at the ballot box for their misdeeds. Power is all these people understand. Until they have that taken away, no rule and no law is sacred.

Even though some conservatives won't want to hear this, the press plays a critical role in our democratic society of holding our elected officials accountable. We need the press to do its job better or we will never break the cycle of corruption that has plagued state government in North Carolina.

Larry Kissell Supports "Airport for No One"

NRCC Press Release
May 12, 2009

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) unveiled a new radio ad today holding Democrat Rep. Larry Kissell (D-NC) accountable for his out-of-control spending, which has gone to prop up corrupt Congressman Jack Murtha’s “airport for no one.”

Larry Kissell voted for the $787 billion so-called “stimulus” package, $800,000 of which has been used to fund the Murtha Airport in rural Pennsylvania that serves about 20 people per day. Each plane ticket in and out of this airport is subsidized by American taxpayers’ dollars to the tune of approximately $100. In total, Jack Murtha has racked up a $150 million bill for the “airport for no one” boondoggle – all on the taxpayers’ dime.

“Because Democrats like Larry Kissell failed to hold his own party accountable, his constituents are footing the bill for this egregious pet project,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain. “The 'airport for no one' is not only an example of the reckless spending that results from one-party rule in Washington, it’s a shrine to a corrupt Democrat who continues to be protected by his party leaders in Washington.”

Click here to listen to the ad...

NC AG Roy Cooper Faces Lawsuit

This story will surely be making more headlines soon as Roy Cooper faces a defamation lawsuit from a former campaign even as he contemplates a run for U.S. Senate.
Lawsuit against AG advances
By Jay Price
News & Observer
May 9, 2009

More than eight years after it was filed, a defamation suit against Attorney General Roy Cooper may be about to go to trial.

A Superior Court judge Friday denied a motion by Cooper's attorney to dismiss the suit. It was filed against Cooper and some of his campaign staff by Raleigh lawyer Dan Boyce, who was Cooper's opponent in the 2000 election for attorney general, and members of Boyce's family law firm.

Boyce, his father, Gene Boyce; his sister Laura Boyce Isley; and her husband, Philip Isley, said that Cooper's campaign had defamed them and damaged their business by running a television ad that claimed Boyce and his law firm had charged the state exorbitant fees in a lawsuit. ...

Judge W. Osmond Smith III's decision clears the way for a May 18 trial date.

Click here for the full article...

Monday, May 11, 2009

NCGOP: Easley Campaign Finance Violations Must Be Investigated and Punished

NCGOP Press Release
May 11, 2009

RALEIGH—In an article this weekend in the News & Observer, former Governor Mike Easley is accused of using the private planes of influential donors without reporting them on campaign finance reports. These omissions could have violated state election laws. As detailed by the News & Observer:

"Starting in 2003, Easley took at least 25 flights on private jets, some in apparent violation of campaign laws and ethics rules, documents and interviews show. Some flights were free. The value of others exceeded campaign contribution limits. …

Easley, a Democrat who left office in January, appointed some of the benefactors to boards that oversee state transportation networks, the state's largest universities and other state functions. …

Some donations to Easley were funneled through the state Democratic Party, which is not subject to contribution limits. But under state election laws, a donor cannot give to a specific candidate through a political party." ("Easley's secret flights skirted the law," News & Observer, 5/9/09)

Chairman Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party, made the following statement:

"I am appalled by these latest revelations about Mike Easley and his time in office. We have been told many times that the pay-to-play backroom politics have come to an end in North Carolina, however these latest revelations show that just the opposite is true. Not only do actions of this nature by those who call themselves 'public servants' destroy the public trust in our elected officials and government at large, these violations also create an elite political class insulated from the people and incapable of doing anything but ingratiating themselves at the public's expense. There is little doubt that before this latest episode concludes we will have another stain on the public trust thanks to another elected Democrat. We must be rid once and for all of these political leeches who infect the culture of state government. As a citizen of North Carolina, I hope that a thorough investigation of campaign finances directed to Mike Easley or funneled through the state Democratic Party will be expedited and appropriate punishment doled out for any violations that are discovered."

N&O: Easley's Secret Flights Skirted the Law

A group of affluent supporters flew the former governor where he wanted to go; the expensive trips, to fundraisers and vacations, were rarely reported.

By J. Andrew Curliss
News & Observer
May 9, 2009

While he was governor, Mike Easley turned a small group of influential North Carolina businessmen into his own private air service, an arrangement Easley kept secret.

Starting in 2003, Easley took at least 25 flights on private jets, some in apparent violation of campaign laws and ethics rules, documents and interviews show. Some flights were free. The value of others exceeded campaign contribution limits.

Records show that the businessmen who flew Easley took him around the state and to such places as Atlanta, Richmond, Washington and Florida. Easley, a Democrat who left office in January, appointed some of the benefactors to boards that oversee state transportation networks, the state's largest universities and other state functions.

A review of state flight logs, records of private and political travel, Easley's campaign reports and previously unavailable "governor's event" forms from the state Highway Patrol raise questions about the privileges Easley accepted while he was a candidate and governor.

A cornerstone of modern election law is that candidates disclose what they take in and spend, allowing the public to see who is bankrolling candidates, and ensuring that limits are not exceeded. Corporations in North Carolina are banned from giving, and individuals are limited to $4,000 per candidate during an election cycle.

"It is very troubling to hear of the possibility of significant violations," said Bob Phillips, who heads the nonpartisan advocacy group Common Cause North Carolina, which has been active in seeking campaign reform and lobbying for openness. "Think about how many millions of dollars he raised ... and there's this get-something-for-free attitude."

Violations of the campaign-finance laws can result in civil or misdemeanor criminal penalties.

Records and interviews suggest more flights took place than those shown in documents provided to the newspaper after negotiations with the Highway Patrol, custodian of the records because it provides security for the governor.

Significant amounts of time are missing in the patrol documents -- including the entire year of 2005. E-mail messages, interviews and other documents refer to flights for which no other records have been produced.

Easley, who has taken a job at the McGuire Woods law firm and is a national spokesman on education initiatives for the foundation of Bill and Melinda Gates, would not agree to be interviewed.

His campaign lawyer, John Wallace, declined interview requests. Wallace also represents the state Democratic Party on campaign issues. ...

Click here to read the rest of the article from the News & Observer...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Perdue Popularity Plummets

A new poll out from the Civitas Institute contains some bad news for Governor Beverly Perdue. In just one month, her popularity rating has fallen 29 points.
Her favorability rating dropped from 58-20 in March to 44-35 in April, a net change of 29 points. That is a enormous decline for one month. There almost seems to be a direct correlation between the state's unemployment rate and her favorability rating. As unemployment goes up, the Governor's numbers get worse.
Even worse news for Perdue is the poll was taken before she announced furloughs for state employees and her new "teacher tax." With Republicans and Independents already skeptical of Perdue's handling of her duties so far, she can ill afford to be losing the confidence of her base. We'll be keeping an eye out to see if voters' lack of confidence continues to erode in the Governor as the fight for the state budget continues.

They Said It! Obama Prefers Government to Make Health Care Decisions

President Obama in an interview with the New York Times lets slip that he contemplates a government role in selecting treatment options. Funny, I thought patients and doctors ought to be the ones making health care decisions.

"And part of what I think government can do effectively is to be an honest broker in assessing and evaluating treatment options." ("After the Great Recession," New York Times, 5/3/09)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reader Mail: Governor Perdue Wrong on Teacher Tax

Mark Otto, a Republican grassroots activist from Johnston County, wrote in to express his frustration with Governor Perdue's new "teacher tax."

As a chief budget writer in the Senate, Democrat Governor Beverly Perdue should accept responsibility for the state’s financial mismanagement and reconsider her order to cut educators’ salaries (or as I call it, the “Teacher Tax”).

I must note that my wife teaches in Johnston County, so readers may think this is personal. It isn’t. We will get by without the agreed-upon pay. In fact, I bet that if Governor Perdue had simply asked teachers if they would be willing to make a sacrifice in the face of the fiscal nightmare the Governor has helped create that many of them would say “yes” but they should expect something in return: Fiscal accountability in Raleigh and elected officials who accept responsibility for their own deeds.

I believe this because as the husband of an educator I have met and spoken to many teachers over the years and I know this for certain: they care about what they do. Not only do teachers teach; they love their students. They care, they counsel, they console and they comfort. They work nights at home and stay late after school. They spend their own money to provide materials when the school budgets come up short. I have witnessed this firsthand from my wife and from so many teachers in Johnston County and elsewhere.

Governor Perdue, we all understand the need to balance a budget, but to do so on the backs of teachers who already give more of themselves than most citizens ever know is simply wrong. Your Teacher Tax is wrong and our educators have earned the courtesy of at least being asked or forewarned so they could plan ahead. You did neither, and I say North Carolina’s teachers deserve better.