Pat McCrory rode to victory on a wave of dissatisfaction with the Raleigh political establishment and a stubbornly high unemployment rate. When he talked about fixing government, the voters thought McCrory meant ending the decade of scandals that had plagued two Democratic administrations. They wanted an end to petty corruption.
Instead, the McCrory administration believed that voters wanted to scrap the programs that have been successful like our nationally recognized Medicaid program. They’ve put no safe guards in place to prevent the type of abuse of power that we saw over the past decade. On the contrary, they’re inviting it.
The News & Observer reported today that Yolanda Stith, wife of McCrory Chief of Staff Thomas Stith, has opened a lobbying shop called, get this, Capitol Access. No kidding. That’s about as blatantly selling access as you can get. She says she focuses on the General Assembly, not the Governor’s Office, but everyone knows what they’re buying.
And as we’ve been shouting all week, McCrory also is letting Secretary of Public Safety Kieran Shanahan continue to work at his old law firm–and in the same office that his wife operates a lobbying firm, CompassNC. Nobody is fooled by what is going on here. This is the same clubby atmosphere that leads to kickbacks and scandals.
Maybe all of this is rooted in Republicans’ contradictory disdain for government workers while complaining that administration jobs don’t pay enough. McCrory gave an 11% raise to his Cabinet secretaries so “they can afford to live while running multi-billion dollar departments.” Now, he’s figured out how to make government even more profitable for his appointees–allowing them to hold second jobs while setting up their spouses with lucrative lobbying contracts.
It took Democrats ten years of almost complete control to find themselves mired in scandal through arrogance of power. It’s taken Republicans only six months.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >