Rep. David Lewis got a lot more 'splainin' to do, Lucy:
Private contractors responsible for towing, storing and auctioning off cars seized from impaired drivers and people accused of fleeing police cannot account for 234 vehicles, valued at nearly $634,000, according to a state audit report released this week.
Under a state program, vehicles operated by drivers who were arrested for repeat driving-while-impaired offenses or speeding to elude arrest were to be seized, maintained, stored, and sold by two contractors.
You know, aside from the apparent corruption and pay-to-play politics exposed here, I have a big problem with the seizure of private property associated with *all* criminal activity, but especially something as mundane as traffic offenses, even those as disgusting as drinking and driving. The criminal justice system is punitive and costly enough as it is, and government taking private property just seems excessive, and probably unconstitutional. But that's just me. Here's the pay-to-play part:
Martin Edwards, whose president is Rickie Day, had held the contract for years, when Lewis tucked language into a technical corrections bill that became law in the final minutes of a 2015 session. The change ensured that contracts for those services would continue to be bid out to the private sector after they were due to expire last year.
Day donated $5,000 to Lewis’ campaign before the Harnett County Republican took the legislative steps, according to reports filed with the N.C. State Board of Elections.
Lewis, who was chairman of the powerful House Rules committee, told the N.C. Insider in November 2015 that his actions had nothing to do with Day’s contribution. He said he believed private contractors could to the work more effectively than the State Surplus Property Agency, which is part of the Department of Administration.
“I am very suspect whenever anybody tells me that the government can perform services of this nature more efficiently than the private sector,” Lewis said in the interview.
Yeah, and I'm very suspect of someone who cashes a $5,000 check, and then takes steps to monetarily benefit the check-writer, but later says the two were not connected. But again, that's just me...