Two stories, one conclusion

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This morning our own Southern Dem dissected the Party of Greed meltdown over who will replace the inept Ferrell Blount. The source of her information was this story in the Charlotte Observer which was written by Mark Johnson.

The Raleigh News and Observer's Under the Dome section this morning also covers the story, this one written by Rob Christensen and Andrew Curliss.

I must admit that I fully expected the two stories to be identical. The coziness of the papers, which are now owned by the same corporate parent, is unnerving. And it would have been easy for management to settle for running the same story in both papers. But they didn't. There's good and different information in both.

From the Charlotte paper, we learned that

Daves has the advantages of seven years as state vice-chair and her status as interim chair. But Sen. Andrew Brock of Mocksville and Guilford County Republican Party Chair Marcus Kindley also are running.

"They (Dole and Burr) were looking for somebody with business connections," said Brock.

From the N&O we get:

The senators have privately been floating the name of Bob Ingram of Durham, the former CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical company, according to GOP insiders. Ingram was national finance chairman for Burr's 2004 Senate campaign and also hosted a Washington gala for President Bush in 2002 that raised $30 million for the president's re-election.

There's one potential problem about the Ingram trial balloon. Like many corporate executives, he gives to candidates of both parties including to Senate leader Marc Basnight and House Speaker Jim Black, both Democrats.

The N&O also ties in a Tom Fetzer angle:

"The timing of Ferrell's resignation caught everybody off guard," said former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer, a political consultant who made overtures on behalf of the senators. "The senators, along with the Council of State members, were trying to get a little more time to assess the needs of the party and who could best lead the party."

So kudos to the papers for demonstrating independence in their reporting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Beyond the media analysis, I'm thrilled by the possibility of Ingram and Fetzer teaming up with Dull and Brrrr. The NCGOP is backed into a corner of its own making and its leaders are turning to corporate interests in search of a bail out. More power to them. I'd love to have a rich retired pharmaceutical executive squarely in our cross hairs as the public face of the Party of Greed in 2008. Bob is a good guy and has contributed a lot to North Carolina, but he's also a person who helped keep George Bush in the White House in 2004. Jerry Meek vs. Bob Ingram. It's David and Goliath all over again.

The election in 2008 will build on the wave of 2006. It will be an epic battle between monied interests of the corporate elite and people-powered candidates like Larry Kissell. It is a battle we will win.

Comments

Question.

How many guests would it take to raise $30 million? I've often wondered this, isn't there a $2000/person limit? So, that would be like 15,000 people?

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

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

$4200

and then there are pac contributions at $10,000

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



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

So, one couple could give $8400.

Then, also donate another $20,000 through a single PAC at the event? And, if they wanted to they could give $20,000 to five different PACS at the event, who would turn it over to Bush?

Limitless contributions in other words.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

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

Limitless indeed.

Can you say "Elections for $ale?"

I believe that NC just changed their law about this...

from what I understand, it used to work like this. You go to a Chamber of Commerce meeting, they have a box, you deposit a check for $1000 as does everyone else. They then take that box to Elizabeth Dole, as a "bundle".

Now, you go to a Chamber of Commerce meeting, you put your check in the box, you call it a fundraiser and not a meeting, and I think you are OK.

I'm going to ask an expert to correct me, because I'm sure I'm wrong, right?

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

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

I don't know if the Chamber

can act as a conduit or not. Bundling contributions in and of itself is not illegal, but using bundling to hide one person giving more than the legal limit is.

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



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Basically

There are different limits for parties. I think you can contribute either $25,000 or $50,000. I can't remember. There are other limits. Yes, a couple could contribute $8,400. It has to be attributed correctly and I don't know if it can be given all at once. Each person can give $2100 for the primary and $2100 for the general. Then Pacs can contribute $5000 for primary and $5000 for general to an individual candidate. I don't know what the individual contribution limit to a pac is. It might be quite high since the pac is then limited by how much it can give to individual candidates. There is also a cap per cycle I think of total giving. I remember vaguely reading that, but don't remember if it was federal campaign law or state.....or even if it is a law. I'm a bit rusty, sorry.

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



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

$$$

I depends on who the money is being raised for and for what purpose. Federal limits have been discussed above. State limits are $4,000 per cycle, PAC or individual to a PAC or a campaign. It's wide open for contibutions to and from party committees. That's how $100K can go from a corporation to a "leadership committee" to a party to an individual candidate.

Andrew Brock

Let's take a look at Andrew Brock's fundraising and financial management abilities. He's the guy who made a little splash, YouTube style, with a video ad on his website about Jim Black that was supposed to whip people into a frenzy to send money to air the ad on TV.

What happened: Brock, at last report, had $9,167.11 on hand, having taken in $18,200 in contributions and spent $17,057.20 most of which went to Warshaw & Associates for advertising. Jay Warshaw who produced the ad is a former Dole spokesperson.

Of the $18,200 in contributions 10 contributions over $100 were not reported with any contributor information. They ranged from $200 to $2,500 and total $8,700 without any attribution as required by law.

Bottom Line.

Let's take a real concrete example. Let's say i want to see Southern Dem win the Lt. Governorship. I can give:
$X primary
$X general election
$X SD Leadership PAC primary
$X SD Leadership PAC general
$X to NCDP with directions to funnel to candidate if they want more money ever.
$X to Meck DP with diretions to funnel if they want more money ever.
$X to a PAC I make up "North Carolinians for Bloggers", which will run "issue" ads in the primary
$X to NCfB for issue ads in the general
$X to another PAC my buddy A makes up "North Carolina for Southern Dems" for primary issue ads.
$X to NCfSD for general issue ads.

and so on, and so on, and so on. Is that right?
CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

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

Plus if you own a big fat company

you can pour hundreds of thousands of your corporate profits into a 527 that drops 4999 mail pieces every other day calling your opponent a slimeball. You just have to be prepared to liesay you aren't coordinating your activities with the SD campaign.

Cha-ching. One election bought with no limitations whatsoever besides the size of your pocketbook.

Pretty much

If "NC for Bloggers" is a 527 instead of a PAC the cash flow for issue ads has fewer restrictions and is essentially limitless as Mr Pope demonstrated.

Because of the $4,000 flow restrictor the way PACs have been used to effect recently is in bundling.

campaign finance

To an individual candidate a donor can give $4K in the primary and $4k in the general....but your spouse and kids can also give. Giving to the party is unlimited. Registered PACs can give $4K to the candidates, too. About issue ads....Democracy NC will be working to tighten rules governing the so-called 527 groups....like fairjudges.net....We came out in strong opposition to their ads, one week before the election, for four particular judges. What's sad is that a lot of the money for fairjudges came from groups and individuals traditionally friendly to public financing....yet their very action undermined the integrity of NC's existing public financing program.

For exhaustingly comprehensive info on campaign finance rules see: the SBOE site.

To support Democracy-NC's good government agenda, including staying updated on moving legislation, join their listserv...it's right at the top of the home page Democracy NC.

got moxie

Thanks moxie.

What is our best shot for campaign finance reform this year? Is there a bill to back? If so let's get the LTEs and emails to our legislators burning.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

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

These two won't work

$X to NCDP with directions to funnel to candidate if they want more money ever.
$X to Meck DP with diretions to funnel if they want more money ever.

You can donate as much as you want to the Party, but once you donate it, you can't designate where it goes. On the local level, the County Executive Committee would designate where the funds would go. I assume that would be the same at the state level. Otherwise it's not "transparent", and puts the Party in the position of money launderer. (Sounds kind of like a 527 or a PAC, doesn't it?) That's why it's so important to be as involved as possible on the local level, so you can be involved in the decision making process. Believe it or not, it's sometimes an issue as to whether or not a local Party is going to support a candidate from their district.

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

Except that

An incumbent politician, who gets elected year after year with little or no opposition, who raises over a $1 million for a campaign that needs little or no money, who not only gives to other candidates and the party, who raises money for the party, other committees and other candidates, has a lot of say, expressed or implied, in how that money is distributed and what is expected of the beneficiaries.

I agree that it is not legal. I believe there has not been enough transparency and that both parties have been put "in the position of money launderer". I agree that "it's so important to be as involved as possible at the local level". You see it when an unopposed candidate gets large contributions about the time they make contributions to other campaigns. You can't prove anything is untoward but you can't prove it's not.

Assuming, for a moment, that everything is being done legally, there is not enough transparency to prove it one way or another. I have seen instances in the reports where the timing of transactions is suspicious, but not provable without the power of subpoena. The State Board of Elections sadly does not have the resources to go after all but the most egregious transgressions and even then it seems hard to prove the obvious. It's very easy to communicate intent without being on the record.

The people who raise the money, rather than the donor, have a lot of say in where it goes.

I also wonder...

if I am Joe bigwig and I give $20K to the NCDP each election, do I really have no say? Seems easy enough to say, okay then, here's your $200 check.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

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

You give because you want to give

This sounds an awful lot like most Republicans I know....wanting strings attached to their money. (Does the name Art Pope ring a bell?) John has a friend who is on the board of the Rams Club. GAWD I can't stand listening to that man bitch and threaten about withholding his money.

If you don't want to give, you don't give. If you don't like the way the NCDP is run, you don't give the money. It's just like any charitable donation. Oh, and yes, if you don't like the way things are done after you've started giving, it is perfectly legitimate to withhold your contribution or reduce it. That is exactly how you send your message and it's how you would treat any charitable organization. When they come calling wondering if you will be giving this year, then you get a chance to say why you won't be giving.

You give the NCDP $20,000 a year and you might get invited to the annual Holiday party (I don't know if there is one, btw) and at that party, you might just get hit up for your next donation. Just because you are a large donor, it doesn't mean you can grab your ass with a handful of fishhooks when it comes to knowing the best way to invest the party's money - or any other charity for that matter.

I'm using the universal "you"....not referring to you specifically. This, of course, will never be a problem for me. I will never have $20,000 to give the NCDP. :)

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



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

me either : )

I hope that Dems act like dems and not like the Republicans you have mentioned, but...

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

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

I know...I know exactly where you're coming from

That's why (as lcloud said) being involved at the gound level will help give us that control and that voice that we wish could go along with our money.

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



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Of course

It's not transparent enough. It's not publicized enough. It's legal (barely). I know all about that. I live in Moore County, and watched as Art Pope destroyed King Richard with the Hairdresser puppet, all the while "not donating any money".

Of course it was investigated (read "winked at") by the SBOE. And now King Richard is getting the state to pay his legal fees. Mind you - I'm not sorry to see him go. And he will still have his hands all over Moore County politics. His wife, Cindy, was elected County Commisioner when she ran unopposed in the Primary in May. He will be presiding over her oath of office on Monday.

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

Email from NCDP's Schorr Johnson

Be sure to read the last paragraph. The Party of Greed's upcoming Coven meeting may very well be illegal.

Raleigh—Less than a month after they were soundly defeated at the polls, Republicans are back to their old tricks again.

Today’s Raleigh News and Observer reported, “The state GOP Executive Committee is scheduled to meet privately Saturday at the Koury Convention Center to choose someone to fill out the unexpired term of Ferrell Blount.” [11/30/2006]

Sound familiar? The NCGOP has a long history of making public decisions while closing the doors to the press.

“Apparently concerned about party divisions, state GOP Chairman Ferrell Blount barred the news media from covering official convention business -- consideration of resolutions, platform and other matters -- where the 546 delegates had a chance to talk from the convention floor. Reporters were permitted to hear only speakers officially sanctioned by the party.”[Raleigh News and Observer, 6/4/2006]

“The next legislator from south Mecklenburg will be elected behind closed doors today -- and not at the polls.” [Charlotte Observer, 8/22/2006]

North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jerry Meek said, “Just like their closed state convention and other secret meetings, Republicans are closing their Chair’s election to the press. They must be worried that the public will see that their activists are frustrated and dispirited after this month’s election defeat. With their Chair’s resignation on Election Day, their difficulty raising money, their Chief of Staff’s resignation, and a political environment hostile to Republicans, the NCGOP is in tatters. No wonder they want their meetings closed.”

“However, this issue is bigger than public relations. Under North Carolina law, the State Party Chairs are quasi-public officials with appointment responsibilities for boards of elections and other boards, as well as the power to administer taxpayer money generated by the tax check-off fund. Democrats believe that public decisions should be made in public. That’s why all North Carolina Democratic Party meetings—from the State level to the precinct level—are open to the public and the press. Our Plan of Organization dictates openness because it’s not only more democratic, it’s the right thing to do,” Meek concluded.

I think it's safe to say the "right minds"

are busy elsewhere.

By the way, thanks for posting the 2008 poll closing information.

I want to find a way to reframe the election among all North Carolinians from being about one day to being about 3 weeks (or whatever). Instead of "Election Day" I hope we can start talking about Election Weeks . . . with a strong emphasis on GOTV throughout the entire period.

I wonder if the SBOE would see any wisdom in a public communications campaign that reminded North Carolinians that they can vote from the middle of October all the way through until November 4th.

(I'm not on best terms with the SBOE since I'm still giving them shit about caving to Art Pope, but perhaps someone else could make the ask.)

Is this something we could get the 2007 legislature focused on?

would have to be a mandate

The legislature could implement it. Or Easley or Elaine Marshall could implement it. There are few problems with such a campaign.

#1 It is obviously politically motivated, opening up charges of corruption.
#2 In most states a higher turnout ALWAYS means Democrats do better. The polls I saw this last cycle shows that may or may not have been the case. Some interesting theorycraft could be spent on it.
#3 Would people listen? More specifically, do people really need reminders that elections exist or do they need a push to go vote? If I trusted anything they did I would look at the Civitas poll done on why people didnt vote, but 400 people statewide from a very odd subgroup done by a shitty polling firm is not appealing to me.

Another interesting idea would be to send out voter registration forms and actual info on how to fill out such forms to every home in the state a few weeks before the deadline. Would need to make sure and fully check status of replys though, what with the nazis in the Party of Torture believing that there are only two types of voters, Republicans and Illegal Immigrants.

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