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Saturday News: Shameless hypocrisy


GOVERNOR COOPER VETOES BILLS FROM SPECIAL SESSION SHENANIGANS: "These proposed constitutional amendments would dramatically weaken our system of checks and balances. The proposed amendments also use misleading and deceptive terms to describe them on the ballot," Cooper wrote in his veto message. "This bill compounds those problems by stopping additional information that may more accurately describe the proposed amendments on the ballot. Voters should not be further misled about the sweeping changes the General Assembly wants to put in the constitution." The second bill reverses a measure lawmakers approved a year ago as part of the GOP's decision to cancel judicial primaries this year while reworking trial court districts. The measure dropped the 90-day requirement for people to file as a candidate with a particular party.

Friday News: Still sleazy after all these years

TOM FETZER TRIES TO BLACKBALL CHANCELLOR CANDIDATE WITH UNAUTHORIZED PROBE: Several members accused Fetzer, a Wilmington lobbyist and former Raleigh mayor, of breaching confidentiality by revealing the top contender’s name to a firm he sought out to look into the candidate’s background. Fetzer, who joined the meeting after it was underway, defended himself, saying there was “a misrepresentation of fact” on the candidate’s CV, or academic resume. Board member and former Chairman Lou Bissette said Fetzer’s behavior was “way outside the realm” of a board member’s role. What happened, he said, wasn’t right. “An individual member of our board took it upon himself to go out and locate some kind of firm to look into the particular candidate and a report was put together,” said Bissette, an Asheville lawyer. “It was sent to all of our board members approximately two hours before our board meeting. ...You know, we’re bound by confidentiality requirements ourselves. This was really an unauthorized disclosure of confidential search information to a third party.”

Thursday News: Treasonous behavior


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.

Wednesday News: Rigging the ballot


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.”

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


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.

Monday News: Propaganda session


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.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


THE GOP'S WAR ON THE POOR: So what is the war on the poor about? As I see it, you need to make a distinction between what motivates the G.O.P. base and what motivates conservative politicians. Many blue-collar whites still think that the poor are lazy and prefer to live off welfare. But as events in Maine show, such beliefs aren’t central to the war on the poor, which is mainly being driven by political elites. And what motivates these elites is ideology. Their political identities, not to mention their careers, are wrapped up in the notion that more government is always bad. So they oppose programs that help the poor partly out of a general hostility toward “takers,” but also because they hate the idea of government helping anyone. And if they get their way, society will stop helping tens of millions of Americans who desperately need that help.

Saturday News: A sign of the times

WHITE SUPREMACIST GANG MEMBERSHIP ON THE RISE IN NC: "We're not sure what's causing it. It's just a trend we're starting to see, and we're trying to figure that out," Taylor told members of the state Emergency Response Commission. "We don't know what's causing it other than this one group that seems to be standing out right now – Bound for Glory." Russell Jackson, a DPS intelligence agent, said national groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Pride also are expanding across the state, including inside the prison system. "Not only are we seeing them increasing in numbers, but we're seeing them increasing in violence and violent behavior," Jackson said. Many white supremacy groups engage in the same criminal enterprises as other gangs, Taylor said, and some gangs have even developed their own dark web apps to communicate out of sight of law enforcement. But he said recruiting is still mostly done via social media or in person.

Friday News: A chip off the ol' block


JUNIOR BERGER FAILED TO DISCLOSE INTERNET GAMBLING DONORS: A campaign finance complaint filed against N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Phil Berger Jr. says he failed to disclose who paid for food, drinks and other expenses at his 2016 campaign fundraisers. The complaint also says Berger — whose father is Senate leader Phil Berger — listed two donors as alpaca farmers instead of gambling business owners, and that several of the people listed as donors in his disclosure reports say they didn’t contribute. Hall’s complaint alleges that while serving as DA, Berger told police to “hold off” going after the (gambling) parlors. Berger was not the DA at the time of the campaign donation and was serving as an administrative law judge during his 2016 campaign. After retiring from Democracy NC, Hall now describes himself as an “independent campaign finance watchdog” and said he expects to file other complaints with the elections board this year.

Thursday News: Feet to the fire


AD BLITZ GOES AFTER GEORGE HOLDING FOR HEALTHCARE VOTES: The midterm election is still almost four months off, but a television ad war has already started between Republican 2nd District Congressman George Holding and an outside group over health care. Holding has spent nearly $200,000 dollars on ads since May to answer ads by a group called North Carolinians for a Fair Economy that criticize his votes on health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. "I think he's running scared. I think he's really feeling vulnerable," said Paula Wolf, who is with North Carolinians for a Fair Economy. Wolf wouldn't say who's funding the group, which has spent almost as much on ads as Holding. But she said the nonprofit, which can only advocate on issues and not endorse a particular candidate, is in compliance with all federal laws.


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