north carolina

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All Along the Hightower

Author and columnist Jim Hightower is always quick to voice his support for public financing of campaigns, as well as for the work of Public Campaign and Public Campaign Action Fund so its nice to be able to return the favor by directing your attention to this profile of him in the Asheville Citizen-Times. He has a new book out, and plenty to say about public financing victories in North Carolina and beyond.

Promising Developments in North Carolina

The Winston-Salem Journal is encouraged by the prospects for the expanded public financing program for North Carolina elections, which covers candidates for the Appellate and Supreme Courts and now candidates for three of the Council of State positions (the Governor's cabinet). Six of the eleven candidates for these three positions this year intend to run with public financing.

The Speech in Question

North Carolina was the first state to pass a law offering an option for state judicial candidates to seek office using a full public financing system. Participation in the program has been high and public response has been sufficient to advance campaigns to offer a full public financing option for other races in the state. But a group is challenging North Carolina's law with the dubious "free speech" argument which a group of judges says misses the entire point of the program.

Having the Option

North Carolina faces an unusual problem with its ten Council of State positions. In addition to having a very high number of these regulatory positions chosen by election, low levels of voter interest in their elections means that campaign support comes largely from industries and interests that serve to benefit directly from Council of State decisions.

North Carolina House Passes Bill

Thanks to everyone who made calls to their legislators in support of North Carolina's public financing pilot program for Council of State races. This weekend, the state House passed the program on a vote of 59-57. From here the bill goes to the Senate. The pilot program covers the races for state auditor, superintendent of public instruction and insurance commissioner.

Wright Goes Wrong

Hmmm, something's brewing in North Carolina. Looks like Rep. Thomas Wright (D) is being investigated for misusing campaign contributions -- failing to report over $200K between 2000 and 2006 -- and some officials and campaign finance groups are calling for his resignation.

Follow the Money, Then Get Rid of It

The Raleigh News and Observer profiles the latest report (pdf) by Democracy North Carolina on the nearly $15 million in fees paid to lobbyists in 2005 -- that's a lot of influence bought and sold at the Capitol building, and a good example of the perfectly legal but questionable activity that happens in a pay-to-play political system.

All In Agreement

The Winston-Salem Journal appears to be in agreement with the News & Observer when it comes to acknowledging that a public financing system is needed for the statewide Council of State races in North Carolina, arguing that candidates for these offices shouldn't take money from interests who do business with their offices, but don't have a choice unless a publi

On The Money

Should the State Treasurer of North Carolina take campaign contributions from firms he hires to manage assets in the state's pension fund? Should any state official be soliciting contributions from industries he or she does business with or exercises authority over? Those questions are at the root of The News and Observer's editorial in favor of public financing for statewide races so as to avoid this apparent conflicts of interest.

 

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Sharon F. Valentine writes in North Carolina's Fayetteville Observer that the days of “take an aspirin and call me in the morning” reform are over, and the cure to the corruption in our political system lies in more deep, systemic change: like Clean Elections. North Carolina, shaken by Former House Speaker Jim Black's guilty plea on corruption charges, has led the way with public financing of judicial campaigns, and will soon consider Clean Elections for Council of State Races.