Pay-to-play on NC's beaches

Just another day in the NC GOP's casino royale:

A North Carolina nonprofit with deep political connections received $5 million in the state budget for a beach nourishment study and design project, even though it has never done that type of work and is headquartered more than 250 miles from the coast. Lawmakers appropriated the funding to the Resource Institute, based in Winston-Salem, through a one-time “grant-in-aid” – pass-through money – from the state Division of Water Resources.

Since 2016, board members and principals of the Institute, as well as several of its contractors, have contributed $84,000 to House and Senate leadership and Republican lawmakers key to their interests, including Rep. Kyle Hall and Sen. Bill Rabon, according to campaign finance records.

Okay, aside from the stench of corruption and patronage associated with this, it also exposes another Legislative vs. Executive Branch power struggle. That $5 million might have been earmarked, but it also shows up on the bottom line of funding to DEQ. In other words, when GOP lawmakers are (rightfully) criticized for not properly funding the environmental department, and they grab a base number to dispute that, this will be included in that self-righteous rebuttal. The ugly truth is, Republicans in the Legislature *have* to co-opt Executive agencies to enrich their friends, because their branch really doesn't do much of anything in the form of actual "work" for the people of North Carolina. Call it "Purse Strings vs. Apron Strings," if you want a handy provincial illustration, but that manipulation of funding is a prime example of the GOP's irresponsible approach to doing the people's business. And of course, like many of these other sweet deals, there's a former lawmaker having a great time with the revolving door:

Thursday News: Treasonous behavior

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MEADOWS FILES RESOLUTION TO IMPEACH ROD ROSENSTEIN IN EFFORT TO QUASH RUSSIA PROBE: Meadows, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and the other Republicans who introduced the resolution have criticized Rosenstein and Justice Department officials for not being responsive enough as House committees have requested documents related to the beginning of the Russia investigation and a closed investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails. The five articles charge Rosenstein of "high crimes and misdemeanors" for failing to produce information to the committees, even though the department has already provided lawmakers with more than 800,000 documents, and of signing off on what some Republicans say was improper surveillance of a Trump adviser. The resolution also goes directly after Rosenstein for his role in the ongoing Mueller investigation, criticizing him for refusing to produce a memo that outlines the scope of that investigation and questioning whether the investigation was started on legitimate grounds. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump's campaign was in any way involved.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article215541870.html

Note to Andrew Dunn: You're done, pack it up

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The last thing we need is another spokesbot for GOP tyrants:

The session certainly looks bad from the outside. But let’s calm down for a second and actually look at the two bills the Republican-majority legislature sent to the governor on Tuesday. The first bill is House Bill 3, which has to do with how constitutional amendments are presented to voters for approval.

In a quirk of state law, the current policy is to let a panel of three elected officials write a short “caption” to appear in front of the language of the amendment on the ballot. These captions are not necessary. Why have a politicized process to write them in the first place? The bill simply wipes these captions off the ballot. Makes sense.

It is not a "quirk" of state law, it was enacted as statute in 1983, and reinforced just two years ago, by the same people who now choose to ignore it:

Non-Profit Groups Fund Flights for Family Reunifications

From RAICES, FWD.us, and Families Belong Together:

Thousands of immigrant children and parents separated by the Trump Administration will be reunified as three leading immigrant rights groups announced a major new multi-million dollar funding commitment to pay for “Flights for Families” torn apart by the immoral family separation policy.

Tim Moore is the poster child for campaign finance reform

Here are just a few of his generous donors:

Wednesday News: Rigging the ballot

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NC REPUBLICANS PASS BILL REMOVING "R" DESIGNATION FOR SUPREME COURT CANDIDATE: Two Republicans are running for a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court this November, but Republican state legislators don’t want voters to know that. A bill filed by state Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown would not allow Chris Anglin to be listed as a Republican on the ballot. But the incumbent in the election, Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jackson, would still be listed as a Republican. The Democrat in the race, Durham civil rights attorney Anita Earls, would also continue to be listed as a Democrat. Anglin isn’t mentioned by name in the bill, which says: “The party information listed by each of the following candidates’ names is shown only if the candidates’ party affiliation or unaffiliated status is the same as on their voter registration at the time they filed to run for office and 90 days prior to that filing.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article215443760.html

Tuesday News: We'll see you in court, ad infinitum

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NC GOP SPECIAL SESSION SHENANIGANS MAY END UP IN COURT: If lawmakers approve caption wording and stay in session, Cooper will have 10 days after the day the bill is transmitted to him to veto it. The legislature could then return to override the veto. A veto is possible, Moore said, so the legislature may have so-called skeleton sessions that only a handful of members attend in case lawmakers need to return for a veto override. Then there’s the commission charged with writing the captions. Moore said the legislature did not plan this week to change the commission. If the legislature doesn’t somehow negate the caption-writing commission’s duties for this year, the state could end up with competing versions of the amendment descriptions, said Gerry Cohen, former general counsel to the General Assembly. “If people want to litigate this, one thing the state courts could do is take it off the ballot,” Cohen said. The North Carolina Supreme Court removed a proposed constitutional amendment from the ballot in 1934, he said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article215357305.html

Surveillance nation: Asheville PD's monitoring of advocacy groups

So much for being the most progressive city in NC:

Asheville Police Department Chief Tammy Hooper authorized the monitoring of Black Lives Matter and Showing Up for Racial Justice in response to what she said were threats to officers after the shooting of Jai "Jerry" Williams by a white police sergeant.

The groups' organizers said they are unaware of any threats made by their members to harm police. Their groups work to raise awareness about racism and get more equitable treatment for minorities, they said. City Council members appear to have been briefed on the operation sometime after March 2018, according to statements from the elected officials and police. APD revealed the operation to the Citizen Times in May after questioning.

You know what? Between that shooting and the brutal beating of a black man for jaywalking, it is blatantly obvious any sort of monitoring or surveillance that needs to be carried out should be directed at the Police Department itself, not those citizens trying to stop such fascist behavior. And as far as this rationalization:

Monday News: Propaganda session

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NC GOP MAY USURP COMMISSION ROLE OF WRITING SUMMARIES FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: The General Assembly may come back into session in the coming days to write short summaries of the proposed constitutional amendments that will be before voters this November. That's supposed to be the purview of a three-person commission, but House Rules Chairman David Lewis wrote House Speaker Tim Moore on Saturday with concerns about the commission's work. Lewis, R-Harnett, said in his letter that he's worried about "maneuverings" by unnamed outside political groups trying to sway the commission. "Politicized captions" with "long sentences or negative language" could hurt the amendments' chances for passage, Lewis wrote. The General Assembly is controlled by Republican super-majorities. Two of the three commission members are Democrats: Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein.
https://www.wral.com/general-assembly-may-hold-surprise-session/17712843/

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