Diary

Another Day, Another Web of Democratic Cronyism Exposed

Ho-hum.

This time it’s Mike Easley, former Democratic Governor of North Carolina from 2001-2009.

From Raleigh’s left-leaning, but no punch-pulling (here) News and Observer,

…Interviews and records, some kept secret while Easley was in office, show that the Easley family reaped many rewards from its relationship with (McQueen) Campbell:

• Inside access on the Cannonsgate land deal. Campbell,
    familiar with plans for the development, was able
    to get the governor a choice lot.

• Free flights on planes Campbell owned and piloted,
    including a vacation fishing trip to Florida
    that the governor did not disclose on ethics reports.

• More than $50,000 in campaign contributions
    from Campbell and his brothers, mother and father,
    placing the family among Easley’s most generous donors.

• Support and help for Mary Easley when she was first hired
    at N.C. State in 2005, as well as Campbell’s endorsement
    of her job amid controversy over a big raise she got last year.

• Campbell held key positions on the NCSU board
    when actions were taken on Easley’s job.

• Campbell got help from the Easley administration.
    He got quick action on the Cannonsgate development permits.

• He twice won dismissals of investigations
    of his vehicle inspection station from the Division of Motor Vehicles,
    part of the Easley administration. DMV agents
    documented serious violations and in one case
    ordered the station closed. Once Campbell began appeals,
    both inquiries ended with little explanation.

• And Easley twice placed Campbell on the board of trustees
    at Campbell’s alma mater, N.C. State,
    a plum appointment as he was developing contacts
    in business and real estate.

Neither Easley nor his wife would agree to an interview for this report.

Ah, so much for the illusion of the all-benevolent government.

For those interested, more on the story can be found here, including a link to this snarky piece from Barry Saunders

And another one bites the dust.

…Although maintaining that there was nothing untoward about the 88 percent raise then-first lady Mary Easley received to book speakers at NCSU or the apparently unreported flights taken by Gov. Mike Easley, Easley friends are dropping like bowling pins.

In addition to Cameron McRae, a Bojangles chicken franchisee, another transportation board member, Mac Campbell, quit just as The News & Observer investigation into Gov. Easley’s travels geared up. Last week, two N.C. State officials — provost Larry Nielsen and board chairman McQueen Campbell, Mac Campbell’s son — gave up their posts.

The question now becomes when will Mary Easley give up the ghost?

Her reluctance to voluntarily step down from a job paying her $170,000 is understandable, especially in this economic climate. They’d have to threaten me with the release of pictures of underage farm animals and me sipping piña coladas on the beach in a Speedo at sunset before I’d voluntarily go quietly — and broke — into that good night…

UNC President Erskine Bowles said she should resign, but only her own decency can compel her to step down without making the university fulfill the entire five-year, $850,000 contract.

Gov. Beverly Perdue, displaying none of the leadership that allowed her to become the state’s first female governor, responded forcefully when asked about the issue, saying she hopes the whole thing just gets resolved quickly…

Cynics among you may ask “What is the use of having well-heeled friends if we can’t put the squeeze on ’em for a free flight or a hefty raise?”

On the heels of Democratic House Speaker Jim Black’s conviction in 2007 over corruption charges, the Tar Heel state may be giving Illinois a run for the money as the corruption capital. (OK, that’s an exaggeration.)