Monday, May 11, 2009

Mike Easley: High-flying governor

If you missed the weekend series "Executive Privilege: The Perks of Power" in the News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer Saturday and Sunday, be sure to take a look online. Written by Andrew Curliss and edited by the veteran Steve Riley, it is an eye-opening account of what happens when a powerful politician forgets his roots and enjoys the perquisites that come with high power and well-heeled friends. In this case, it's about former Gov. Mike Easley, who grew up in Eastern N.C. and cut his political eyeteeth prosecuting corrupt politicians in the 1970s and 80s in Southeastern N.C., then became N.C. attorney general and finally governor for eight years.

Somewhere along the way, it appears Easley lost his sense of proportion and started enjoying the high life. He accepted a lot of favors from friends that he ought to have kept more distance from, and failed to appreciate that ordinary North Carolinians would wonder how he could get so far above his raisin'. He doled out appointments to close friends who seemed to do him favors, and who then boosted their business by bragging on their connections. He took aircraft flights here, there and yonder while the state Highway Patrol protected his travels from public scrutiny. His wife got a lucrative job at N.C. State University under strange circumstances. And he bought a pricey lot on the coast at a cost many investors would have loved to have gotten -- at the time.

No one knows how far this story is going or what it might produce, but at a minimum it is clear that an investigation is in order, if for nothing more than to clear the air. The U.S. Attorney's office in Raleigh has declined to say whether it is investigating, although it seems evident the justice department is interested. So is the N.C. Board of Elections. If these two agencies aren't spooling up for a full-fledged investigation, the question is: why not?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever heard of the 'spoils system'? I believe Andrew Jackson perfected it. I'm trying to figure out what the big deal is? Why are these newspapers after Gov. Easley? If he did anything illegal he should be held accountable no doubt. However, just because he got a few favors from friends or airplane rides I mean come on. That's our society. He was GOVERNOR. Does anyone NOT expect he and his family to get some special perks? Now that we have found everything that Gov. Easley did wrong, let's talk about the things he did well. Such as leadership during flooding and hurricances in eastern NC, getting the state through a budget crisis in 2001-02, raising teacher pay, and making NC public schools better. C'mon CO and NO. Let's call it both ways.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The time to address those concerns was when Easily was in office.

Spend what precious few funds our state has this year on trans. loops, not committees. Creating a committee is more window-dressing by our cronies in Raleigh, imo.

Anonymous said...

We saw some of this last year when his wife got that high-paid job in NC State; everyone breifly looked at that and other things the Easleys did, then quickly brushed it aside.

It is an interesting read and not really surprised by it all. Will they investigate it, maybe... will anything be done about it, unlikely since he's no longer Governor.

Anonymous said...

This is a typical Charlotte Observer fishing expedition. I am disappointed that so much time was devoted to this story and the lengths to which it goes. In particular, I am disappointed at the repeated attacks on Mary Easley. She is an accomplished attorney in her own right and brings real legal experience to the classroom. I was fortunate enough to be her student at NCCU School of Law and despite her obligations as then First Lady, she never missed a class and was always available to her students. She is an asset to the University and deserves praise for contributions, not criticism for her well deserved position.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I find it sadly funny the Observer is upset about former Governor Easley's actions but ignores what the sports booster clubs have done to the UNC System schools.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this will open the eyes of the press to pay more attention to what the current Govenor is doing. Then maybe she will not abuse the power given to her by the voters, or was she privey to Gov. Easley's abuse of power for his own personal gain and turned a blind eye to it. Interesting?

splainintodo said...

Why now?

Read Betts's story. Highway Patrol records were have been sought after for years by Curliss (and Carrington). W/out these it's pretty hard to learn about much of this.

I don't have the time to explain the campaign finance violations, depriving the public of honest services, accepting things of value and tax violations here, but take a good look at the Ballance, Phipps, Black, Decker and Geddings cases and figure out why this all might matter.

Here's one hint on one question: Why would a car dealership just want to be Mike's friend? Well, maybe something to do with NASCAR legislation and government contracts for lease and purchase of goverment vehicles.

Gideon said...

Jack,

How is this any different from the culture of corruption that seems to pervade Raleigh? The media turned a blind eye to the corruption of Jim Black for years before it became too open to ignore.

Are the voters supposed to believe that this culture of corruption isn't standard operating procedure for any or all of Raleigh's "power" brokers?

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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Interesting the common interests Easley shared with former Alabama Governor Siegelman. Lanny Young, an Alabama businessman was teamed with two NC friends and donated thousands to the Alabama governor's campaign. Besides NASCAR, the other interest in common, was landfills and disposal solutions.

Anonymous said...

Only an idiot could look at this picture and believe "suicide" and the whole state under Easley's as AG, and Governor upheld the ruling.
http://www.officerdavinabuffjones.com/head%20wound.htm
What these guys get by with is enough to make an honest American sick.

Next they'll be having boyscouts policing rich, corrupt islands, and taking bullets in the head for asking too many questions.

Anonymous said...

Easley is a thief

Anonymous said...

Is it a surprise the Easley is a scumbag?????

Anonymous said...

Why is the blog adminstrator deleting posts that do not threaten, use profanity, or attack individuals? Why are the N&O and Casual Observer going after Gov. Easley so hard all of a sudden? That's where we should direct the invesitgation. What person at the newspapers is pushing this agenda?

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