Legislative Leaders Subvert Campaign Finance Laws


BREAKING NEWS: So much for Republican grassroots indignation. The “new,” supposedly “grassroots” Republican party chair has caved in to the oligarchs. He agreed to a “compromise” that will now allow an additional “affiliated party committee” to be set up by the senior member of the Council of State (i.e. the governor). Gov. Pat McCrory has siged the bill (or course).

Read more here and here.

“As Chair of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, I’d like to express sincere appreciation to both Republicans and Democrats in our General Assembly and Council of State for placing particular emphasis on their absolute lack of morals, ethics and professionalism,” commented J.J. Summerell.  “By stooping to new depths you have raised the LPNC, the Party of Principle, to new heights in the eyes of informed voters.”


by J.J. Summerell

In an eleventh hour back-door maneuver, the Republican leadership in the General Assembly rammed through a bill giving them the unlimited and uncontrolled ability to raise as much money as they want for candidates they alone select.

They’ll be able to appoint an “affiliated party committee” that won’t have to abide by the same rules and constrains that apply to parties and candidates. And if that doesn’t make a sufficient mockery of the law, individuals, lobbyists, and special interest groups will be able to give as much money as the want to these faux committee.

We agree with the Republican assistant counsel David Williams that this is a “poison pill” for the Republican Party. But it’s also a toxic potion for Libertarians, unaffiliated voters–and most especially the people of North Carolina.

We also agree with Rep. John Blust, one of 19 Republicans who voted against this bill, who said, “Honorable people do not conduct the publics’ business this way. The attitude reflected by the leaders in carrying this out shows a profound disrespect not only for the other legislators, but for the people we represent.”

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Government Lobbying Government Part 2

“No man’s life, liberty or property is safe when the legislature is in session.” – Mark Twain.

The N.C. General Assembly is back in session. At least they were for a day. The assembly officially convened their 2015-2016 “long session” Jan. 14, then recessed for two weeks. In those two weeks, most of the legislators will hold fundraising events, just as they did in the days before the session opened. It’s never too early to start collecting money for the next election.

One of the first actions in the House of Representatives was a unanimous bipartisan vote to elect Rep. Tim Moore (R- Clevland) speaker. That will probably be the only unanimous bipartisan vote of the session.

Most of the members of the General Assembly were sworn in Jan. 14, all except for Rep. Edgar Starnes (R-Caldwell) who took the oath early – so he could resign before the session convened to accept a job with the state treasurer’s office. Starnes was slated to be the House majority leader.

“I am not a lobbyist,” Starnes said. “I am a legislative liaison.”

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Fewer Ethics Rules and More Ethical People

Gov. Pat McCroy’s claim that he made an honest mistake by not listing his Duke Energy stock ownership on the ethics form the state requires him to file does not pass the smell test. The governor claimed that he, and his attorney, “misread” the 11 page disclosure form.

In that case, I suggest the governor get a new lawyer who can understand plain English. In Section I, page 2, the form (check it here on the News & observer website) clearly asks for information “as of December 31.”

It’s ironic that the same politicians who create these long-winded and incomprehensible forms themselves always claim they don’t understand them when caught making a mistake. If our elected leaders don’t understand the rules they enacting, perhaps they should rethink the rules?

The governor may have made a honest mistake. And this may only be a minor issue. After all, McCrory’s connection to Duke Energy is no great secret.

What North Carolina aren’t more rules and bureaucratic barriers to deter and prevent ordinary citizens form running for office. What we need are fewer rules, and less bureaucracy so that the average man or woman can run for office without having to open up every aspect of his or her private life to government scrutiny.

We don’t need more ethics rules, but more ethical people.

Libertarians see opportunity in rising voter discontent

brad_hesselThe Libertarian Party of North Carolina’s new executive director believes the growing public dissatisfaction with the government in general and the “two-party” system in particular offers a new opportunity to move public policy in a more libertarian direction.

“As the Democrats and Republicans move us relentlessly down the road to hell, kicking the can as we go, more and more Americans can feel the heat rising,” said Brad Hessel, who was appointed last month.

Hessel said the advent of the Tea Party, the Occupy Wall Street Movement and, in North Carolina, the growth rate of unaffiliated voters, which is dramatically outstripping that of Democrats and Republicans, are evidence of this discontent.

“These are all signs that most Americans believe something is very, very wrong with our political system,” he said.

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Pension spiking is corruption

Once again, the News and Observer has performed an admirable public service by exposing the exorbitant salaries being paid to select state government employees and the manipulation of the law to increase their pensions.

In a series called Checks without balances, the N&O detailed how four community college presidents, two housing authority directors, and a Town of Cary “tennis pro” collected tens of thousands of dollars in perks and benefits in a scheme designed to circumvent salary caps.

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Libertarians oppose welfare for (Met)Life

RALEIGH (April 18) – The awarding of nearly $100 million in “corporate incentives” to MetLife, one of the largest insurance companies in the world, is a classic example of state and local governments playing the game of Reverse Robin Hood, robbing from the rich to give to the poor, a state Libertarian Party spokesman said in a statement today.

J.J. Summerell, Libertarian Party of North Carolina chair, said the party denounces all such corporate welfare as fiscally irresponsible and the practices should be stopped immediately.

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The real misbehavior was who paid for the trip

The real misbehavior that occurred when a group of Congress members visited Israel last year was who paid for the trip, not what they did.

The real misbehavior that occurred during this Congressional junket wasn’t that a Kansas represented allegedly went skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee. I’m sure that’s been done before.

The real misbehavior is that these supposed representatives of the people were on a junket paid for by a lobbyist group. According to Politico.com, the trip was paid for by the American Israel Educational Foundation, a group related to the prominent pro-Israel advocacy group AIPAC.

These Congressman were supposedly on a fact-finding mission, yet they were staying in a $1,000 a night hotel. Rep. Renee Ellmers told WTVD news that they were ‘working hard.’ If the work was so hard, why was her husband along? And what facts could they possibly find about anything related to their Constitutional duties in a luxury hotel?

I’m sure the donation was all legally reported, and least according to the very loose rules Congress writes for itself. So technically it can’t be called a bride. Since all the Congressman are already avid supporters of Israel, perhaps the lavish trip could be called more of a “reward” than a bride.

Either way, anyone with any common sense recognizes that such a gift is wrong. But as the eminent American philosopher Will Rogers once observed, “Common sense ain’t so common.” Especially not in Congress.

Anyway, Rep. Yoder probably just thought he could walk on water. After all, most Congress members think they have the power to do anything. This trip is a perfect example.

The mainstream media, political pundits, and late night comedians will undoubtedly delight in focusing on Yoder’s antics, and divert the public’s attention from the real outrage – the arrogance and abuse of power by elected elites.

Defining the Occupy Wall Street movement

If the events in Raleigh this weekend are typical, the Occupy Wall Street movement appears just as difficult to define and characterize as the Tea Party movement. In the beginning the mainstream media ignored the first occupation in New York City, just as they did the first Tea Party protests.

Only after the movement persisted, spread, and participation grew, fueled by bloggers, texting, tweating, YouTube videos and the other techniques of the new media, did the mainstream media finally take notice.

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Ballot access reform bill still alive

An election bill that would dramatically lower the threshold for a new political party to gain and maintain ballot access in North Carolina may still be considered by the state General Assembly when it reconvenes in July. H.B. 32, The Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, passed the House in a bipartisan 68-49 vote, but the Senate adjourned before considering the measure.

The legislature will return in July primarily to deal with redistricting but may consider other matters, including election law bills.

“We’re hopeful that legislators will pass this bill when the return,” said Jordon M. Greene, president of Free the Vote North Carolina. His group is heading a coalition of political parties and public policy groups from across the political spectrum supporting the bill. The measure has backing from the Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties, Democracy NC, the John Locke Foundation and the N.C. League of Women Voters.

“Clearly there’s a broad base of support from across the political spectrum to offer voters more choice on the ballot. We hope the state Senate will consider this and take action,” Greene said. “It is past time that North Carolinians were given as much choice on the ballot as they do in the grocery store.”

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GOP vice chair endorses ballot access reform bill

The vice chairman of the N.C. Republican Party has endorsed passage of House Bill 32, the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011.

In a statement, Tim Johnson said, “House Bill 32, The Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, is a great opportunity to level the playing field and to give all citizens the equal opportunity to fully participate in the governing of our Republic.”

“As a Republican, I believe this party represents the best choice for Americans, but as a Republican I also believe allowing more political parties and individuals to participate in the electoral process will result in the best ideas and best people winning, and ensure that we’re not stuck with the status quo,” he said.

The bill will dramatically reduce the ballot access restrictions for new political parties and unaffiliated candidates. It would set at 10,000 the number of signatures a new party must collect to be listed on the ballot, or for an unaffiliated candidate to run for a statewide office, including governor, council of state or U.S. Senator.

“We welcome Mr. Johnson’s endorsement and thank him for his support of the individual’s right to self-government,” said Jordon M. Greene, president of Free the Vote North Carolina, the group that originated the bill. “This endorsement is further proof that the issue of free choice and ballot access reform goes beyond partisanship and is truly a matter of basic freedom and equality of opportunity.”

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