NC Republican Women: Law Not for Us

I knew that someone would work hard to find a loophole around our new ethics laws here in NC. I didn't think it would happen this quickly and would be this blatant.

David Ingram is reporting in The Charlotte Observer that a group of Republican women has lost no time in leaping through a loophole in the new law that allows lobbyists to continue giving to political groups or PACs.

From the Observer:

.....And that exception has not been lost on the leaders of the Committee to Elect Republican Women, a group of 14 female state officials.

The group sent a letter this week to lobbyists, inviting them to attend a breakfast Jan. 24 before the new session of the General Assembly and to contribute as much as $4,000. The invitation even mentions the new law and argues that the group is exempt.

:::snip:::

Cherie Berry, founder of the Committee to Elect Republican Women, said it's doing only what it has done since its launch in 1999.

Please follow below the fold....

What's that, Cherie? Worming your way around the law?

According to the Observer article, the actions of this group have those who supported the new ethics law upset.

Groups that argued for the new law say the Committee to Elect Republican Women is taking advantage of a loophole -- one of the first loopholes in the state's new, more comprehensive ethics laws.

"They're trying to thread the needle," said Bob Hall, research director of the Carrboro-based watchdog group Democracy North Carolina. "They're undercutting the spirit of what the new law says."

They should be upset. There is nothing that prevents a group of lawmakers from forming a PAC for the sole purpose of soliciting funds from lobbyists. Quite frankly, setting up a PAC isn't that difficult. According to G.S. 163-278.6 (14)(PDF):

The term "political committee" means a combination of two or more individuals, such as any person, committee, association, organization or other entity that makes, or accepts anything of value to make, contributions or expenditures and has one or more of the following characteristics:

a. Is controlled by a candidate;
b. Is a political party or executive committee of a political party or is controlled by a politcal party or executive committee of a political party;
c. Is created by a corporation, business entity, insurance company, labor union, or professional association pursuant to G.S. 163-278.19(b); or
d. Has as a major purpose to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates.

As you can see, there is nothing to prevent two like-minded (or opposite-minded) legislators from joining together to rake in the big bucks from lobbyists. There may be limits as to how much each can use to fund their campaigns personally, but imagine the power that could be garnered as they spread the wealth among their cronies. This could easily happen on both sides of the aisle.

Once again, according to the Observer:

According to the invitation, the group has received written opinions from a staff lawyer at the General Assembly and from the State Board of Elections indicating it was complying with the law. Berry said those opinions are good enough for her.

The lawyer, Walker Reagan, told the Observer his opinion is not binding. Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said he is unaware of any written opinion from his office. Bartlett said he isn't sure his office has authority over the issue.

I see a couple of folks pulling out their ten foot poles. Not gonna touch this one, huh boys?

David Ingram did an excellent job pulling this article together. Please visit the Observer at the link above and if you like the coverage email dingram@CharlotteObserver.com and let him know. He might not share my opinions about the facts he presented, but I think he did a thorough job presenting the facts.

Note: While I wasn't able to find a complete list of the 14 Republican women playing fast and loose with our new ethics laws, I did find their listing at the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Here is their third quarter report from 2006. (PDF)

Comments

wow

investigative journalism. we should give this guy a medal.

thanks for the link SD.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

The elevator lady wants your money!

Now I know what that lady does who's mug i have to look at in every elevator i step into.
We have one way of getting back at her for trying to have lobbyists write our laws again.
Let's fire her and elect Wayne Goodwin for Labor Commissioner in 2008.

Left on 49

Cabarrus Democrats

The elevator lady

hehehe

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Oops,

posted twice....sorry

Thanks for bringing this to us SD

Was watching C-Span last night showing the final vote on H.Res 6 - it passed 430 to 1 with 4 not voting. Who was that ONE "NO" vote? Dan Burton R-IN of course. There were 3 repub "No Votes" Henry Brown R-SC, Steve Buyer r-IN and Charles Norwood R-GA. Also one Dem "No Vote" Lincoln Davis D-TN! What is a "NO Vote"?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

like voting "present" or abstaining

not taking a stand one way or another, but showing you were there.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

The text of this bill is not published yet

I understand that it was on ethics reform, why would a Dem have a "No Vote" for this?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Perhaps

they didn't want to vote against the Bill but felt it was missing something important.

There was some discussion about taking pensions away from Representatives who have been convicted of a felony (ie: Randy "Duke" Cunningham), but it is not included in this package.

I don't know why these particular Reps abstained, mind you, I'm just offering one example.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

The Party of Greed

lives up to its name.

Thanks for this good analysis . . . and to the Observer for this good story. Sleaze, like water, has a way of running down hill. These Greeders are setting the stage for more and worse. After all, if the Puppetmaster can skirt the laws and thread the needles, why not everyone else?

Cherie Berry sounds like a cheap tube of drugstore lip gloss, and she's turning North Carolina's elevators into stainless steel whore houses. Perfect.

____________________________________

We are not amused.

Welcome Democratpanther...

the newest registered BlueNC user!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

You sure can turn a phrase

she's turning North Carolina's elevators into stainless steel whore houses.

I'm pretty sure there's a Darth Vader/ Ella Vator pun in there, but I've got too much work to do to figure it out. I'll leave it to the rest of you to fill it in.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Speaking of Darth

More from the Dark Side.

____________________________________

We are not amused.

Ooof!

Looks like someone needs better lighting over her bathroom vanity. I've seen clowns with less make-up.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

I think she's wearing

that lip color Anglico referenced.....Cherie Berry.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Oh that is such an inside joke....

inside the elevator that is.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I thought it was a

backside joke.

____________________________________

We are not amused.

everyone knows...

She is the commissioner of the Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau, right?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Yeppers

The site I linked to below is hilarious. Evidently, some friends who work together had some spare time at.....work.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Suppose her daddy owns Axis Chemicals?

Same smile...

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

(sigh)

Another day, another group of Republicans trying to make up their own rules.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

Oh My Lord she has a fan site

It isn't fancy, but the thought of it has me giggling. Cherie Berry fan site

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Cherry Berry


This is actual one of my favorite herbal teas.

Marge?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I just noticed that an organization called "Marge for House" received $2,000 from this Republican women's PAC.
I wonder if Homer knows about this?
$2,000 will buy you a lot of donuts!

Left on 49

Cabarrus Democrats

Thanks

Thanks for passing along this report. Among the things that it demonstrates is that any reform simply encourages clever people to find a work around. Do you remember when the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill was supposed to solve the problem of outrageously expensive and privately financed campaigns. As of today it might just as well have never been passed.

I'm trying to remember any reform program that achieved it's purpose and didn't become irrelevant within ten years of its passage. None comes immediately to mind.

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen

You're exactly right

....and this became irrelevant before enacted. I bet they had their invitations printed before Jan.1.

Hey - at least we're getting transparency. They certainly aren't hiding the fact that they are working their way around the law.

I'd like to be able to put names on the 14 women who are members of this group. I'm sure many are listed as recipients in their reports.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Why Do They Write Reforms

- with built in loop holes? Doesn't that defeat the purpose?

Okay. I'll quit being logical now ...

Exactly

Kinda like they wrote something just to shut everyone up knowing they'd be able to get around it anyway. What a waste of time and money. Maybe we should let them know about it.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.