scharrison's blog

Ethics complaint filed against Tim Moore related to lucrative property deal

Bending two branches of the government to the breaking point:

Internal emails that the group says it obtained from the NC Department of Environmental Quality show the company being granted a waiver of thousands of dollars in fees, and being given multiple extensions to address pollution on the site. DEQ officials could not immediately be reached to confirm that the emails are authentic.

Southeast Land Holdings, the company co-owned by Moore, bought the plant for $85,000 in 2013 and sold it for $550,000 in 2016, according to the complaint. Moore’s financial disclosure forms required by the state show he owned 25 percent of the property.

Hoo boy, this stinks to high heaven. Not only does it expose serious ethical questions about Moore, but both McCrory and Van der Vaart along with him. And it also brings into play another questionable Republican action, that of combining the offices of the Ethics Commission and state Board of Elections, which has thrown both into chaos and confusion. Which very well could have been the goal in the first place. In other words, this complaint may be floating in limbo for quite some time. But somebody needs to move on it soon, because this corrupt scheme goes all the way down to the county government level. Some excerpts from the 42 page complaint:

Duane Hall floats conspiracy theory to explain sexual harassment crisis

Which also happens to be a classic defense mechanism of a serial harasser:

In a late Sunday night phone conversation with WUNC Hall again denied the allegations laid out in the original story, and said he believes it stems from a personal relationship.

“The father of my ex-girlfriend is the executive director of NC Policy Watch,” Hall said, referring to Megan Glazier, the daughter of Rick Glazier. “They worked on the story for months and released on the last day of primary filing, with unnamed sources. They have a journalistic obligation to disclose those personal conflicts, but did not. There is a big difference between reporting a story, and creating a story.” “This was a personal vendetta.”

To say I find this "very unlikely" is an understatement. The first hurdle of disbelief to hop over is the idea that Rick Glazier would use his position at the NC Justice Center to do such a thing, to carry out a personal vendetta. But let's say we make it over that jump in one piece, and can keep running. Now we have to leap over the idea that Rob Schofield would play along. A man who has dedicated 12 years to building the structure and integrity of NC Policy Watch. Not gonna happen. But since we're already in fantasy-land, let's assume that record-breaking jump was successful. Now we've got to convince Billy Ball to be a co-conspirator, a man who has been neck-deep in journalistic reporting since before he even graduated from UNC. That's fifteen years of building a reputation of credibility and accuracy. The idea that any of these guys, much less all three, would even want to engage in a fraudulent smear campaign, much less jeopardize their integrity and careers over it, ranks up there somewhere near chem-trails on the crazy conspiracy chart. Three strikes, you're out Duane.

Add "Insider Trading" to the list of Trump administration crimes

trumpglare.jpg

It's all about the timing:

Between February 12 and February 22, three of Carl Icahn's companies happened to place four sell orders amounting to $31,277,063.43, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The filing was first reported by the liberal news site ThinkProgress. Trump didn't announce his plan to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum products until Thursday, one week after Icahn's final transaction.

On February 23, a day after Icahn's final sales, Bloomberg reported the president had "told confidants" of his plan to impose steep steel tariffs. In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Icahn said he hasn't "had much interaction with [Trump] at all in the last four or five months."

Trump can't even grasp the concept of ethics, much less how it applies to individual actions. It's amazing he hasn't been thrown in jail yet. Scratch that, it's not amazing, since he's a rich white man. But if you think this insider trading thing stinks, it's not nearly as rank as the Kushner family engineering a Persian Gulf crisis because Qatar refused to give them a big pile of money:

Puppy mills vs shelter dogs: There's only one moral choice

Because the death toll is staggering:

Two million dogs are euthanized in shelters across the United States each year. The Humane Society of the United States says it’s a disturbingly high statistic that most people are unaware of. Now, consider the flip side: about two million dogs are brought into existence each year and sold by commercial breeders, competing against otherwise adoptable, existing animals waiting in shelters but unable to find homes.

“There is a direct correlation, a very obvious correlation, that this industry is directly participating in the pet overpopulation problem,” Erica Geppi, the North Carolina Director for the US Humane Society, explained to WECT of puppy mills. She says there are some reputable breeders, but far too many are breeding litter after litter in inhumane conditions, putting profit over animal welfare.

Normally I don't do fluffy bunny stories here, because we try to remain laser-focused on politics and policy. But it is glaringly obvious the free market cares nothing about animal cruelty, and their only hope lies in sound and humane policy decisions. And it is also obvious that North Carolina is one of the worst states when it comes to the euthanization of unwanted domestic pets:

Obsessed with Roy: Francis de Luca files complaint about ACP permits

The revelation came to him as he was throwing darts at a Cooper poster:

A challenge filed Tuesday against Governor Roy Cooper’s Department of Environmental Quality alleges that the four permits issued by the state for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline “did not meet proper procedure resulting in harm to water quality.”

The petition was filed by Francis DeLuca, former head of the conservative Civitas Institute, and contests permits and approvals recently issued by DEQ to the ACP project, including the federal Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification which is the primary approval required for the project to move forward. The petition also challenges the sedimentation control permit and storm water permits in Nash and Cumberland counties.

You know, when the GOP took over the General Assembly back in 2011, one of the first things they did was go on a "listening tour" to determine just how dissatisfied developers and industry people were over DENR's permitting process. And of course, they were able to find numerous complainers, who told "horror" stories about having to wait 12-18 months to get their permits approved. Ironically, the GOP's "solution" was to cut funding for DENR (later DEQ) by 40%, and bury the remaining regulators in paperwork like economic impact assessments. But setting that aside for the moment, my point is that Civitas and JLF have been moaning about over-regulation by environmental officials for years, complaining about how those delays stifle growth and prosperity and such. But now Fran de Luca is upset because the permits were granted too quickly? There's a word for that, it's called "Hypocrisy." Here are excerpts of a letter JLF signed off on just a few years ago:

Anonymous UNC faculty group G17 forces Folt to call for removal of Silent Sam

One way or another, that dude is history:

Updated at 10: 37 p.m: An anonymous group of 17 UNC faculty members announced on their Twitter account it received notice from the chancellor's office that Chancellor Carol Folt will ask Gov. Roy Cooper to petition the N.C. Historical Commission to relocate Silent Sam.

The tweet said the governor will be asked to immediately petition on the groups that recent events suggest the monument must be moved to be preserved. The group said it will stand down but will "re-engage if the chancellor fails to follow through on her promise."

Of course the right-wing nutters are howling at the moon, calling for an investigation to determine who these professors are and get them fired and/or arrested. But the truth is, the UNC administration has brought this on themselves by farting around and hoping the problem would magically solve itself. As far as hurting the reputation of the school, it's the statue and not the controversy that has done that. Silent Sam should have been removed a long time ago, but after Julian Carr's speech was widely published, in which he bragged about whipping a female slave until her dress was in bloody tatters, it should have been a no-brainer. G17 isn't a "splinter" movement emanating from just one school, it has members from across the campus:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This is what's known as a "net gain" on the candidate front:

Regardless how you feel about the DCCC throwing its support behind a Primary candidate, it makes no sense to have five Democrats running for one hard-to-win Congressional seat while Legislative seats in the same area go uncontested.

GOP complaints about Progressive groups prove their effectiveness

If you're making them mad, you're doing it right:

The number of grassroots groups popping up and supporting progressive causes and candidates is staggering. They’ve got a slew of names and they probably overlap in activities. The common goal, though, is to elect Democrats in November—or at least ending Republican control of Congress and the state legislature.

Now, the groups are coming under scrutiny because of our complex series of campaign laws, most of which have been supported by progressives to try to regulate money in politics.

FWIW, the sheer irony of Republicans whining, "Who paid for those t-shirts?" while they're perpetually getting a blood (money) transfusion from shadowy corporate donors is not lost on anybody, except maybe those who've had their televisions programmed to only show Fox News. Unfortunately, that blatant hypocrisy won't help those Progressives file their paperwork properly or shield them when the BoE comes knocking, so if you're involved with one of these groups, help 'em square that stuff away. And while this is true:

Trial over Judicial Primary cancellation will begin in June

Which ironically is just 11 days before the postponed Judicial filing period begins:

A trial over the legality of a North Carolina law canceling primary elections this year for state appellate court judgeships is scheduled for late spring.

During a hearing Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Peake set a June 7 trial date and other filing and evidence deadlines.

Nine days ago I penned an Op-Ed for submission to a regional newspaper, but recent (unfortunate) developments at that publication have made that submission moot. But these words need to be published, and I encourage you to take an extra few minutes to consider the following:

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