10/28/09 — Follow the money: Abundance of Easley cash suggests reason to track its influence

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Follow the money: Abundance of Easley cash suggests reason to track its influence

Democratic Party officials told the North Carolina Board of Elections Tuesday that they did not locate and use a loophole in state law that would allow them to funnel more money to the Mike Easley gubernatorial campaign.

Tuesday's testimony is just the latest episode of the saga that has become Democratic politics in North Carolina.

It is hard to do anything but wince as witness after witness comes forward in the investigation into Easley's campaign spending and offers testimony that suggests that an awful lot of people seemed to have absolutely no regard for not only the law -- but for ethics as well.

But that is not all that should interest those who live and work in North Carolina.

There seems to be an interesting question that is springing from all the testimony about all the money that seemed to be flowing through the hands of the "much too busy to check his books" governor.

It kind of makes you wonder ... why?

Why was anyone so enthused about donating to Easley's campaign that there was an abundance of money to juggle?

His administrations were lackluster at best, and it is difficult to be a charismatic speaker who motivates supporters and citizens when you do not come out of Raleigh -- or your office.

So why was there so much money?

It makes you wonder a bit about how business was run in Raleigh. Were there people who thought that donating to the campaign was a way to get a favorable contract or some other perk? Were there people who just contributed money to make sure no one looked their way when it came to a regulation or other decision? It is certainly something to think about.

In the end it is looking more and more like Gov. Mike Easley's administration was more about collecting money than it was doing what was best for this state and its residents.

And that leads to another important query -- where the heck was the Democratic Party? How is it that no one knew about the questionable spending, the lack of performance and all the other red flags that should have said -- "change candidates."

Well here's a hint on that one: You cannot call out a bad politician and keep the public's trust on your side. Raising questions about Easley would have raised questions about the Democrats -- and that does not bode well for a campaign victory.

This whole thing is going to get messier before it gets better. All we have to do now is not forget what we have relearned about politicians and politics.

Published in Editorials on October 28, 2009 10:59 AM