Berger tweaks legislation so fellow Republican can draw two salaries

Can you say Patronage? I knew you could:

A one-sentence change tacked into broader legislation earlier this month helps a single state employee, tweaking state law so he can again get paid to serve on a state commission while on vacation from his full-time state job. Under Gov. Pat McCrory, Peaslee drew his regular state salary and was also paid the daily wage tax commission members get to sit for several days each month hearing appeals from around the state. When Gov. Roy Cooper took office, a new regime at the state Department of Revenue looked at state laws against employees double-dipping on salary and questioned whether Peaslee should draw both paychecks.

Peaslee, a former general counsel for the North Carolina Republican Party, brought the issue before Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and other state legislators. He'd been taking vacation time from his $115,494-a-year job at the Industrial Commission to make $450 to $500 a day at the tax commission. His tax commission pay last year totaled $24,500.

If you're thinking something about this story sounds familiar, it's because NC Republicans are making a habit of using the Industrial Commission to line the pockets of their friends. During one of the grossly unconstitutional Special Sessions of late 2016, Republicans gave authority to McCrory (after he had lost the Election) to appoint his Chief of Staff's wife to a NINE YEAR TERM on the Commission, a million-dollar pat on the back:

“On December 16,2016, the day Session Law 2016- 125 was signed into law, Governor McCrory appointed [Yolanda] Stith, the spouse of his chief of staff, to fill an already-existing vacancy on the NCIC. The vacant seat on the NCIC had a term scheduled to end on April 30, 2019. See N.C. House Joint Resolution 978 (April 27, 2016). Stith’s appointment was approved by Defendants on the same day. See N.C. House Joint Resolution 24 (December 16, 2016).

Accordingly, as soon as the vacancy on the Industrial Commission was filled — for a nine-year term running through April 30, 2025 — the language of Section 97-77(al) reverted to its original form. As with the appointments prior to this one, any future vacancies on the NCIC will be filled by an appointment only for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Thus, the net result of the NCIC Privilege is that Section 97-77 (al) was left unchanged, but Stith — and, by statutory design, only Stith — received the exclusive privilege of a nine-year term on the Industrial Commission valued at more than $1 million.”

If Republicans have accomplished anything of note since they took over, it would be how far they've surpassed the corruption exhibited by the handful of notorious Democrats who crashed and burned during the late 1990's and 2000's, with the possible exception of Jim Black. But frankly, the sheer amount of campaign cash that's been flowing through the GOP arteries over the last few years makes Jim Black seem like a penny-pincher in comparison.

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Comments

Two sets of rules

There are the rules Democrats are supposed to follow, the violation of which ends political careers and often includes disbarment if not incarceration.

And then there are the rules Republicans are supposed to follow, which is pretty much whatever you can get away with. Blatant pay-to-play politics, high-dollar non-jobs, criminally negligent appointments of unqualified individuals to critical positions, and the list goes on.

I'm not excusing those Democrats by any stretch of the imagination, but the sudden lack of interest in ethics we saw after 2010 is both astounding and infuriating.