The political stench coming from our own state has overwhelmed the one coming from the Commonwealth to our north. However, we should pay attention. There’s a cautionary tale playing out up there.
A few short months ago, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was finishing up his term and looking very much like a top-tier Republican presidential candidate. Then a disgruntled chef spilled the beans about a campaign contributor paying for a $15,000 reception at McDonnell’s daughter’s wedding.
Turns out that the reception was just the tip of the iceberg. Jonnie Williams also gave a $70,000 loan to a corporation owned by McDonnell and his sister. He gave the governor’s wife a check for $50,000 and $10,000 as a wedding present to another of the governor’s daughters. In addition, Williams bought the governor’s wife $15,000 worth clothing and bought her a $6,500 Rolex watch to give to McDonnell as a gift.
In exchange for his generosity, Williams was allowed to use the governor’s mansion as a backdrop to launch a new product for his dietary supplement company. In addition, the governor’s wife went to a conference in Florida to help promote company and its products.
Now, here’s the rub. McDonnell doesn’t deny any of this. Instead, he says it’s all legal. Virginia law doesn’t require him to report gifts to family or loans made to corporate entities. It may be legal but it sure as hell stinks.
Well, state and federal authorities can sort all of that out, but it raises serious questions about transparency and our own governor. During the campaign, Pat McCrory says he didn’t need to disclose his clients while working for Moore and Van Allen and he wasn’t required to release his tax returns.
As it happens, Moore and Van Allen has done very well under the McCrory administration. The first big economic development score was MetLife, a Moore and Van Allen client, which got an incentive package that totaled $90 million. And the video sweepstakes people, among the largest political donors in 2012, hired Moore and Van Allen in a bid to make their racket legal in North Carolina.
Now, McCrory says he’s not benefiting a bit from this, but he’s not going to disclose his clients or release his tax returns. Why? Same reason Bob McDonnell says he’s done nothing wrong. The state doesn’t require him to.
So, we’re supposed to take McCrory’s word that he’s done nothing wrong. Unfortunately, Pat McCrory’s word is not worth much these days. Since he got elected he’s repeatedly lied or mislead the public. Let’s count the ways.
First, on March 15, McCrory told the AP that he had never met with sweepstakes industry, when, in fact, he had.
Next, McCrory told a reporter in Wilson that he goes “out in the crowd all of the time,” referring to the Moral Monday protests. He had to retract that statement when nobody could find evidence to support his claim.
Then, he signed a huge tax cut with no revenue to offset it despite pledging in his state of the state address, “It (tax reform) must be revenue neutral.” Now, Pat McCrory is now “redefining” (wink, wink) revenue neutral to fit his needs, not ours.
Then, when McCrory got caught playing catch instead of meeting education advocates delivering a petition, the episode got covered extensively by the Raleigh press corps. But a few days later, when a High Point Enterprise reporter asked him about the incident, McCrory responded “I think you are reading inaccurate descriptions of a strange incident that didn’t occur.” Not only is McCrory not telling the truth, he’s accusing virtually every news outlet in Raleigh of making something up.
At a press conference last week, McCrory blamed the Obama administration for denying North Carolina citizens long-term unemployment benefits. In fact, he signed the bill into law, not Obama, and North Carolina is the only state in nation to have taken that step.
Finally, in the most blatant incident, Pat McCrory, when asked during a televised debate what additional abortion restrictions he would sign, gave and answered unequivocally “None.” Now, he says he will in fact sign a bill that severely restricts access to abortions if it comes out the Senate.
So with this record, why should we believe McCrory when he says he has not benefited from his clients at Moore and Van Allen or vice versa? In fact, why shouldn’t he come clean in order to prove that everything is on the up-and-up?
It’s time to revisit Pat McCrory, his tax returns and his clients at Moore and Van Allen. He’s helping a pro-him “nonprofit” during the legislative session and a lot of money is about to be spread around revamping the Department of Commerce and DOT. We need to know who McCrory was dealing with and we deserve to know how close those ties are today because we don’t need a Bob McDonnell situation here. It smells bad enough already.