Carolina guvs, past and present, aim for McDonnell-level corruption

They should ironically name Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina the “Ethics Coast” — like the Space Coast but for launching massive corruption into the highest levels of state government:

In the months after receiving his $171,071 payout of stock from, [N.C. Gov. Pat] McCrory appointed the state’s banking director and a majority of the banking commissioners who regulate mortgage brokers.
That Jan. 30, the board voted to accelerate the vesting of McCrory’s 10,063 restricted shares of stock, valued on that date at $171,071, even though thousands of the shares were not due to vest for another 16 months.

Without the board’s action, the shares would have expired, making them worthless. founder and Chief Executive Officer Doug Lebda told the AP in an interview that the decision to accelerate the vesting of the shares for retiring board members is standard practice at the company.
McCrory’s total take of $185,509 from in 2013 far exceeded the $139,590 salary he earned as governor that year.

(Which is why Pat McCrory is a compassionate governor with a true sense of the plight of the non-plutocrat and the poor. Ok, now back to…)

[U.S. Rep. from South Carolina Mark] Sanford joined the board in April 2012 after finishing his term as South Carolina governor in a cloud of ethics questions. He had been forced to pay $74,000 to settle 37 state ethics charges, including using taxpayer funds to pay for flights to Argentina to visit his mistress.
All told, Sanford cleared $239,159 in stock, director’s fees and special dividends in his 13 months with, records show. Since then, Sanford has voted on financial regulations in Congress, where rank-and-file members are paid an annual salary of $174,000.

And I didn’t even bring up S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, who has her own special brand of ethics too.


North Carolina: Go rich or go anywhere else

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s campaign to drive out the poor seems to be continuing full speed ahead. In addition to cutting and phasing out the Earned Income Tax Credit, Think Progress observes that,

…low-income North Carolinians will be paying higher taxes in order to pay for a tax cut for the richest people in the state. Republicans moved from a two-tiered, progressive income tax system to a flat tax rate of 5.8 percent. A person who earns a million dollars per year will get a roughly $10,000 tax cut thanks to that move, but the bottom 80 percent of the income distribution will see their taxes rise. That means that four out of five taxpayers in the state were going to pay more next year even before the EITC repeal.

The combined effects of those tax changes give poor North Carolinians some incentive to move out of the state, a population shift Gov. Pat McCrory (R) hopes to encourage.

It’s a flat-tax miracle, y’all!

Just last June, the state became the first in the nation to provide zero unemployment benefits. When the Federal government shut down in October, North Carolina immediately suspended WIC vouchers — literally taking food from the mouths of babes — as every other state used emergency/contingency funds.

This is all in line with Gov. McCrory’s views that North Carolina is too generous to low-income and unemployed people and that those undesirables must be just absolutely flocking to the state’s inner cities from the Dickensian hellscape that he apparently believes is the rest of America right now. That view in turn is just the tip of the McCrory/NC Republican iceberg of destruction, which has included trying to vaporize abortion rights and making it very difficult for some people to vote.

His deeply regressive policy agenda, shared by Republican state legislators in the majority there, has been called by The New York Times, “The Decline of North Carolina” and by me “North Carolina: Not Checking Itself, Before Wrecking Itself, Since 2010.”

Oddly, the former seemingly-moderate Charlotte mayor, seems to be extremely (and oddly publicly) thin-skinned for a high-profile politician and has not been taking the criticism well at all, as explored in a prominent column in the Charlotte Observer this past December:

…my interview with him last week and a breakfast with him a couple weeks earlier make clear he hasn’t changed a bit in one respect: This is a man obsessed with his image and how he’s portrayed. It’s clear he doesn’t go a day without being deeply frustrated by what he sees as unfair attacks on his good name.

My hour-and-40-minute one-on-one with the governor began with him complaining about an editorial cartoon and ended with a complaint about how Art Pope, one of his chief advisers, is depicted. In between, McCrory repeatedly sprinkled asides and bromides about how the media are out to get him and his administration. When I sat next to him at a recent breakfast, he tugged on my sleeve every couple of minutes, leaned over and murmured his displeasure with this cartoon or that editorial or a news story from six months ago.

Most of McCrory’s troubles stem, in his mind, not from his support of policies that a majority of North Carolinians disagree with but from a media that, through bias or incompetency, just can’t understand his greatness.


Huzzah. That’s leadership you can depend on.