05/17/07 — Who’s next? Keeping track of misdeeds is becoming a full-time job

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Who’s next? Keeping track of misdeeds is becoming a full-time job

Things are getting a little scary up at the North Carolina Statehouse in Raleigh. And there might be more than a few empty seats if the newly strengthened ethics reforms get too much more attention.

The latest potential violator is Rep. Thomas Wright, who is accused of using some of his campaign funds improperly — well, for some of his personal expenses.

Wright is a former ally of disgraced House Speaker Jim Black — not that that means anything on paper, but it is a little bit interesting for coincidence sake.

North Carolina taxpayers have a right to be a little nervous. After all, just how many more people connected with the former speaker — or others — are going to have to admit to fiscal wrongdoing? Will there be enough people left for a quorum?

There are some who say the new ethics laws are too strict and too confusing. They say that there will be some lawmakers who violate the rules simply out of innocent ignorance, not with the intent of defrauding anyone.

But even setting those transgressions aside, it is beginning to look like there will be plenty of others who legitimately should be policed.

Looks like the ethics rules were strengthened just in time. Let’s hope some lawmakers get the message.

Published in Editorials on May 17, 2007 11:41 AM