Google “Corruption in NC Politics” and these headlines from national and state
media appear: “GOP Changes Weaken Elections and Ethics Oversight;”
“Corruption is Undermining NC Government;” “Corruption, Gerrymandering, and
Voter Suppression: How NC’s GOP Made a Great Big Mess;” “North Carolina gets
D grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation;” “North Carolina among the Nation’s
More Politically Corrupt States;” “ A Wave of Scandals Hits North Carolina
Republicans;””Voter Fraud is Part of the GOP Playbook.”


North Carolina’s General Assembly cannot compete in scale with the Trump
administration’s breathtaking corruption — but not for lack of effort.
Like all Republican politicians in America, those in NC’s General Assembly majority
realize that the nation’s demographics do not favor them. And they are terrified.
After being trounced in the 2012 elections, the RNC half-heartedly floated the
possibility of courting minority voters to broaden their base. They resolved,
instead, that cheating was easier than altering their DNA.


Serendipitously, when a significant portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was
repealed in 2013, NC General Assembly rushed helter-skelter to pass new voter ID
laws. Under the ruse that they were on a crusade to halt election fraud,
Republicans mobilized to suppress voter turnout — “surgically” in minority and
largely democratic communities — by purging voter rolls, by restricting voting
sites, by shortening voting hours and early voting, by requiring ID cards, by
selectively pairing voting rolls and voting places, by creating a spurious anti-fraud
commission.


In addition to voter suppression, the General Assembly: (1) called lame-duck
sessions to pass controversial laws; (2) stuffed ballot boxes with illegally
completed absentee ballots; (3) overrode the Democratic governor’s veto with a
devious scheduling trick (a trick House Speaker Tim Moore learned from Thom
Tillis); (4) rejected Medicaid in spite of its obvious benefit to a large sector of the
state population; (5) truncated a newly-elected Democratic governor’s powers
during a lame duck session; (6) wrested investigative authority from the State
Bureau of Investigation to the “political protection” of then-Republican governor
Pat McCrory; (7) funneled “dark money” throughout the state to Republican
candidates; and (8) gerrymandered… beyond legal limits.

And the corruption has names: Representative David Lewis, the Republican
architect of the gerrymandered state and top lieutenant to Tim Moore,
shamefacedly boasted that he drew his legislative map specifically to elect
Republicans. This same David Lewis recently pleaded guilty to transferring
$65,000 of NC GOP campaign money to his own account. He resigned from the
General Assembly and faces jail time.


McCrae Dowless, Jr., a Republican operative and convicted felon, was indicted on
three felony charges of obstruction of justice and two charges of possession of
absentee ballots for directing workers to collect and mail in other people’s
absentee ballots during the 2018 Republican congressional primary on behalf of
GOP candidate Mark Harris. The election was nullified and Mark Harris dropped
out of the race.


In May, a federal jury convicted Greg Lindberg (87 months), a billionaire
Republican donor, and his associate John Gray (30 months) for attempting to
funnel millions of dollars from campaign contributions to bribe Mike Causey, the
state’s insurance commissioner, to influence the policies and operations of the NC
Department of Insurance.


In August, Robin Hayes, former congressman and chairman of the North Carolina
Republican Party, pleaded guilty to attempting to facilitate this same bribe. He
was recently sentenced to a year’s probation.


NC House Speaker, Tim Moore himself, has faced accusations of conflicts of
interest because his private legal services are in unusually high demand: (a) he
represents his county’s public utility; (b) he represents Cleveland County
commissioners; (c) he represents the North Carolina Bail Agents Association; (d)
he represents Durham businessman, Neal Hunter, on whose behalf “Moore
sponsored legislation that intervened in a dispute with Durham officials over a
new development project.”


Our state government and federal government are facing profound moral and
ethical crises, not just political ones. Some amount of corruption has always been
a feature of American politics. And Democrats themselves have certainly been
tarred in the past. But this current crop of Republicans in the General Assembly
has made corruption a sinister art form — and drawn national scorn for its efforts.

A thorough cleansing of Republicans in the General Assembly is essential.
Principled Republicans in NC, who believe in honest government, should eschew
tribal attachments this election and join with Democrats to create a government
capable of operating by the same legal, moral, and ethical principles required of
its citizens.


As retired Navy admiral, William H. McCraven, recently stated: “When integrity
and character no longer matter, there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.”

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