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PDNC has released a statement today that calls for the North Carolina Democratic Party to lead the fight against political corruption. We have invited Party Chair David Young (see letter here) to join us in making sure that the necessary reforms are put into place. We need to make sure that the scandals that have discredited our party in recent years--with the revelations that have surfaced in the Easley hearings being just the latest outrage in a string of far too many-will not continue to damage the Democratic Party or the democratic process.

Now we need your help. Please contact David Young to let him know that you support the reforms that have been laid out in PDNC's statement and that you are counting on his leadership on this critical issue.

David Young: NCDP HQ phone: 919-821-2777 Ext. 106; email: dyoung@ncdemocraticparty.org

If you want to take further steps, please contact the other Democratic Party leadership in Raleigh, your District Chair and your County Chair to urge them to support good government in North Carolina and demand an end to questionable practices and secret deal-making. We have attached some talking points to that end.

Party contact information:
Party Headquarters: http://www.ncdp.org/contact

Congressional Districts:

County Leadership: http://www.ncdp.org/counties

Thank you for your help upholding the North Carolina's Democratic Party's core values of good, honest government and financial transparency of political parties, campaigns, and government.

Heiderose Kober, President
Progressive Democrats of NC


Doing ...

I couldn't find the actual statement in your PDNC blog post. Can you check ... or cross post? Thanks.

James if you click on the word

"statement" above, it should take you there.

note- I have posted the statement and letter as comments below because it has come to my attention that the links are not working properly. Thanks for your patience.

A Good Start

A good start would be for Democrats to stop trying to make NC the "most business friendly state" in the country. We've sacrificed too much and gained too little with this strategy over the past 30 years.

See: Dell closes plant after $400 million in state funding; state stands with thumb up *

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

Change the system. Basically it's

you gets whats you pay for.... But it's rarely the little people doing the buying. Shorten the campaign season and get the $$$ out as much as possible. (freedom of speech my @$$ ... where are the "strict constructionists" is this debate?) And how about legislation being passed that allows non-lawyers to serve in elected office, like the GA, by protecting their "regular" jobs.
Otherwise elections tend to become a race to the bottom.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Letter to David Young

Dear David Young,

These must be difficult times for you. You are called upon to stand up for the Democratic Party as the Easley scandal is revealing how some Democrats have misused our party to launder questionable campaign contributions and evade accountability. To make sure that this does not happen on your watch, the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina are preparing a statement calling for the North Carolina Democratic Party to lead the fight against political corruption and to institute the necessary reforms. We are circulating the draft among our membership right now and will release the final statement to the public on Monday.

We want to include you in our discussion and hope that you will play a pivotal role in putting the Democratic Party back on the high road. It's a shame that the work of so many honest, dedicated and principled Democrats in North Carolina is being tarnished by the misdeeds of a few and that the reputation of our party is dragged through the mud because we did not police ourselves sufficiently. This comes at a critical time. We do not have the luxury of ducking behind the barricades and hoping that this will blow over soon. We have just seen in Virginia and New Jersey what happens when unmotivated and disillusioned voters stay home on election day. We must clean up the North Carolina Democratic Party's brand before the important 2010 elections and restore confidence in our party's integrity. We must be able to parry attacks on our moral fiber by showing that we have already taken the necessary steps to ensure greater transparency and put crucial checks and balances in place. PDNC believes that what we have laid out in our call for action statement goes a long way towards doing just that. We would gladly meet with you at your convenience or join in a conference call to continue this conversation.

Thank you for your consideration.

Heiderose Kober, President
Progressive Democrats of North Carolina



Enough is enough. In fact, it is far too much. In the wake of the Easley scandal, the North Carolina Democratic Party has to – has to – stand up against the swirl of political corruption that has surrounded its office holders and itself – or be swept under by it. To fail to lead the fight against institutionalized corruption at this historical juncture means to flush the remaining public trust, good will, and hope for the future that the Obama victory brought us. It also undermines the good work principled elected and appointed officials are doing, as all Democrats become tarred with the same brush.

The Easley scandal is not an aberration. It’s part of a very clear pattern, which is not really a surprise. Campaigns have become much more expensive. Roughly 90% of campaign contributions come from 1% of the population, and many big contributors give because they want something from elected officials – and it’s not good government that they have in mind. Much of that “pay to play” money goes to Democrats simply because they are in control and in a position to deliver.

Our laws set a campaign contribution limit of $4,000 per candidate per election, but they also provide a huge loophole. Contributors can give unlimited contributions to political parties, which in turn can give unlimited contributions to candidates. The obvious strategy for big contributors and campaigns is to funnel money above the contribution limit to the party, with the understanding that it will be redirected to the candidate.

Such money laundering has long been rumored, and Democracy North Carolina has demonstrated to the State Board of Elections that it has happened in recent specific instances. But, as the Board of Elections hearing into the Easley campaign shenanigans showed, proving that the party actually conspired in these manipulations is quite difficult. With only a few party officials making these decisions, hiding the “earmarking” is child’s play.

The belief that winning trumps ethics and hard-to-enforce laws is not only morally bankrupt but also politically disastrous. Politicians and parties in the end survive on their public reputation with the voters, who can throw the bums out – and do. What will it take? Governor Easley in jail? The next high profile Democrat in the dock?

The consequences of inaction are enormous. North Carolina’s reputation as the “good government state” is history. When our reputation sinks to the level of Louisiana, Illinois, and New Jersey, North Carolina loses the race to attract the best and the brightest, the new start-ups, and the established businesses looking for fair practices and a level playing field.

The honor and fate of the North Carolina Democratic Party rests in its own hands. We are not asking for the party to unilaterally disarm, because, goodness knows, Republican policies that glorify corporate greed and small-mindedness would be a disaster for the state. But we are asking for our party to save its honor and save itself both by internal reforms and by using its clout with the legislature to accomplish reforms binding both parties. In fact, it should challenge the Republican party to join it in pushing for the reforms.

Specifically, the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina, an independent organization of party grassroots activists, calls on the party to lead the fight for political reform by immediately taking the following actions:

1. The party chair, David Young, should call a press conference that calls for renewed commitment to the party’s core values of good government and financial transparency, acknowledges the political corruption and its public perception, and announces a thoroughgoing reform initiative and a zero- tolerance policy on corruption.

2. Chair Young should call an emergency meeting of the party officers and district chairs for the purpose of devising a draft plan for reform, with a target of presenting a reform proposal to the State Executive Committee at its next meeting in January.

3. The reform proposal needs to include the following elements:

a) An immediate audit of state party finances with the detailed results sent to party officers, district chairs, all members of the State Executive Committee and made public.

b) An amendment to the party’s Plan of Organization to institute a financial oversight board made up of Democrats directly elected by the State Executive Committee. This board will be tasked with hiring an outside auditor to create a transparent paper trail of contributions from donors who have maxed out their $4000 limit to specific candidates as well as subsequent expenditure of those funds and to prepare an annual report of those findings to the SEC in the winter meeting.

c) Termination of the party’s contract with Nexus Strategies, an organization with obvious conflicts of interest. Its principals were involved with Gov. Easley’s campaign; the organization was retained by Governor Perdue’s campaign; and it presently filing campaign finance compliance reports for the state party.

d) Active support and vigorous lobbying for the proposal by Larry Leake, Chair of the State Board of Elections, that legislation be passed that makes candidates personally responsible and liable for the campaign finance decisions of their campaigns.

e) Active support and vigorous lobbying for closing the loophole that allows unlimited contributions to and from political parties. The party needs to be raising its money from the grassroots, not from the lobbyists and fat cats.

f) Finally and most importantly, active support and vigorous lobbying for the long-time official position of the party in favor of public financing of elections for all legislative and statewide candidates. Most “pay-to-play” contributions are legal under the present totally inadequate laws.

The zero-tolerance position of the North Carolina Democratic Party needs to be forcefully communicated to all Democratic elected officials, candidates, and party officers and employees at all levels. If the North Carolina Democratic Party is going to lead this state to a better tomorrow, it first has to exert firm leadership in putting an end to the politically corrupt business-as-usual today.

Ty Harrell

Did the PDNC ever come out with a statement concerning Ty Harrell and his mis use of campaign contributions?