Daily dose

Daily Dose: $51 billion giveaway edition

FIVE THINGS TO BE GLAD YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT:

The sour, critical commentaries that are populating the editorial pages this weekend aren’t the only things causing some heartburn around the McCrory camp. In the coming days and weeks there are even bigger concerns looming.. Here are five questions that Gov. Pat McCrory, his brain trust, top DENR officials and his legal/communications team might be, are, or should be, pondering:

News reporters don’t wake up on sunny late spring morning and say to themselves: “We think we’ll toddle on down to the Ethics Commission and check out Ol’ Pat’s latest financial disclosure statement.” Someone, somewhere, made sure the news reporters knew what to look for and where.

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PHIL BERGER, MILK CARTON MAN? -- A new television advertising blitz Republican backers of Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis is aimed at boosting the lagging images of two of the three top leaders in North Carolina. For the immediate future, it is particularly critical for Tillis who is in a very tight battle with incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, for her seat. The effort to inflate the images of Tillis and McCrory, both Mecklenburg County Republicans, isn’t an easy task. First, they’ve been unable to bring the contentious legislative session, marked by infighting among the GOP leaders at a time when they promised in their campaigns and at the opening of the session church choir-like harmony. The General Assembly appears to be headed to a finish, shuffling out of Raleigh with more a whimper than a bang. Attempts to complete work are marked by failure on addressing the Duke Energy coal ash spill disaster and no action on the promised fix to Medicaid.

Daily dose: whine with that sleaze

McCRORY ETHICS QUAGMIRE

McCrory: 'We Haven't Broken Any Rules' (WUNC-FM) – Gov. Pat McCrory is responding to charges that he misstated when he sold his stock in Duke Energy. McCrory worked for the company for almost 30 years. Speaking to reporters after an education conference held by the North Carolina Chamber, the Governor faced a series of questions about when he sold the Duke stock that was part of his 401k. "We haven’t broken any rules or ethics violations or anything," McCrory said. "And I was very transparent that I did own it. I was 29 years, and I’m proud of that experience and I had a 401k retirement account, like many of you may have had, or still have.”
http://wunc.org/post/mccrory-we-havent-broken-any-rules

As ethics scandal erupts, Carolina Rising launches $1.5M NC pro-McCrory ad blitz (AP) — A group promoting policies implemented by North Carolina Republicans is running a television ad before most public schools open to praise Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis – GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate -- for education legislation.
http://www.news-record.com/news/north_carolina_ap/carolina-rising-begins-m-nc-ad-campaign/article_2a...

Daily dose: You can't believe anything Tillis and McCrory say. Not one damn word.

POLICY & POLITICS
LAWYER’S ROLE? McCrory ‘misstated’ Duke holdings, sold stock after coal-ash spill (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The governor’s previous disclosures had not revealed that he owned Duke stock at the end of 2013. McCrory’s lawyer, Bob Stephens, says the content of the form was his mistake.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/13/4070158/mccrory-changes-financial-disclosure.html

Conflict of interest statements for NC officials now online (WRAL-TV) -- A new website launched quietly last month by the State Ethics Commission allows users to look up state officials' potential conflicts of interest.
http://www.wral.com/conflict-of-interest-statements-for-nc-officials-now-online/13889394/

NC education budget change worries some districts (AP) — The General Assembly removed a requirement in North Carolina law that said the recipe to build the two-year state budget begins with projected public school enrollment among its first ingredients.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-education-budget-change-worries-some-districts-2623143

Daily dose

THE SPILL
Duke Energy takes coal ash message to public (Greensboro News & Record) -- Newspaper ads from the energy company pledge to manage coal ash, despite legislators’ failure to regulate it.
http://www.news-record.com/news/dan_river/article_8f9c97ec-1c57-11e4-a853-0017a43b2370.html

State closes Brunswick ball field after coal ash found (Wilmington Star-News) -- The district's softball field is the only known case of the hazardous material within the county
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20140804/ARTICLES/140809909/1017/news01?Title=State-closes-Bru...

Daily dose

GERRY COHEN: Celebrated as the Legislature’s ‘Consummate Professional' (WUNC-FM) -- One of the most respected and beloved figures at the General Assembly is about to retire. Gerry Cohen will soon finish his current job as the special counsel for the state legislature, where he was first hired as a staff attorney back in 1977. Later, he became head of the bill drafting division, where his encyclopedic memory and reputation for fairness made him a favorite among Democrats and Republicans alike. … "We have a non-partisan central staff, which is the model in like 40-plus states, where central staff works for both parties and both houses," said Cohen. "That was a really good experience, I liked doing that. Some states have separate House and Senate staffs, some states have separate Democratic and Republican staffs."
http://wunc.org/post/consummate-professional-lawmakers-celebrate-retiring-special-counsel-gerry-cohen

Daily dose

Just don't undercook the fish:

THE SPILL
Health officials OK recreational use of Dan River (Greensboro News & Record) -- People can fish and swim in the river without fear of skin irritation or other potential health problems linked to coal ash, N.C. health officials said.
http://www.news-record.com/news/article_dbfd143e-11d7-11e4-aa1a-001a4bcf6878.html

Daily Dose

THE SPILL
94 percent of Duke Energy coal ash still in Dan River (Danville Register & Bee) -- A Charlottesville-based environmental group has criticized Duke Energy following its clean-up of a 2,500-ton coal ash deposit at Schoolfield Dam, saying the company has not accounted for the remainder of its 39,000-ton coal ash spill into the Dan River. "Where are the other 37,000 tons?" said Kathleen Sullivan, senior communications manager for the Southern Environmental Law Center, in an email to the Danville Register & Bee last week. "They have not accounted for 94 percent of the coal-ash waste spilled into the Dan River. Duke has removed about 6 percent of the coal-ash waste it spilled and at just two places: at the spill site itself and the Danville dam. It is hard to believe that the coal ash hasn’t collected elsewhere in places in the river where it could be removed."

Daily Dose

THE SPILL
Environmentalists Not Satisfied As Dan River Cleanup Ends (WFDD-FM) -- Duke Energy announced last week that it has completed its cleanup of the Dan River following a massive coal ash spill in February. The cleanup operation began May 6, and Duke Energy says that two-and-a-half tons of coal ash and river sediment were removed. The cleanup was monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but some environmental groups are unhappy with the result. Frank Holleman is senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. He says too much of what was dumped into the Dan River is still there.
http://wfdd.org/post/environmentalists-not-satisfied-dan-river-cleanup-ends

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