Pay to play in Raleigh

The legislature reconvenes tomorrow.

That means that the pols rake in the money tonight.

Tonight North Carolina’s Republican and Democratic lawmakers are taking part in what’s become a ritual in Raleigh – the pre-session fundraisers.

Republican House members are gathering in a downtown restaurant, GOP senators in a private home. House Democrats are convening in a downtown office building and senators in a nearby wine shop.

Joining them all will be the usual cohort of lobbyists and political action committees, many making a circuit between events.

Once the short session begins Wednesday at noon, lawmakers will no longer be able to take PAC contributions. (They can never take them from lobbyists.)

It's pay to play, pure and simple. It's sleazy. It's both parties. And we don't know who's paying to play until after their investment pays off.

Jane Pinsky, director of the Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform, can live with the fundraisers. But she doesn’t want to have to wait until the next reports are due in July to see who’s influencing legislators in a session that could be over by then.

Ms. Pinsky makes an excellent point. But we part ways with her on living with the fundraisers. We think they suck, and they demonstrate all too well the problem of money in politics.


Money talks

Please speak up!

Already Tuesday one group boasted a record take. Josh Thomas, director of the House Republican Caucus, said the caucus has $1 million on hand. This is the earliest it has ever reached that milestone.

House Dems have a little less than that; Senate GOP has four times what Senate Dems have. That's not surprising, the party in power gets the bucks.

But the fact that those bucks are breaking records is disturbing.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

And this doesn't include ...

... all the money that will be tossed into races by the Koch brothers or Art Pope.

The best cronyism money can buy!