Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dems for GOP Hall of Fame?

Carter Wrenn, the well-known Republican political strategist who writes one of the most interesting blogs on N.C. politics along with Democrat Gary Pearce at, has pointed out the same thing that a lot of folks have been mulling over lately: While state Republican leaders are calling for heads to roll at the Democrat-controlled State Board of Elections, the plain fact is that the board of elections and its staff have done a pretty good job of highlighting campaign wrongdoing by major Democratic figures over the past decade and publicizing their misdeeds. Makes you wonder whether Republican leaders really want the Democratic leadership on the board replaced, given that they've helped send a Democratic Commissioner of Agriculture (Meg Scott Phipps) and a Democratic Speaker of the House (Jim Black) to prison and they've fined former Democratic Gov. Mike Easley $100,000 and referred his case to the district attorney for possible criminal action.

This isn't to say that State Elections Board Chairman Larry Leake of Asheville hasn't done some dumb things. He has taken some steps that look like he's trying to help Gov. Bev Perdue, including spending a wad on chartering a private plane to fly him to Raleigh and back one afternoon to supervise an interview so he could get back home for a family function, and in another case ordering a board investigator to finish a report without interviewing a former Perdue aide who wasn't immediately available. That aide was later interviewed.

Those steps don't exactly look good. But Republicans have probably benefitted from the board's exposes of Democratic wrongdoing, and those benefits may show up starkly this fall in legislative elections. Leake and the board's executive director, Gary Bartlett, ought to be candidates for the Republican Party Hall of Fame, Wrenn wrote.

Here's the full text of what Wrenn had to say:

A Cesspool of Corruption?

Carter Wrenn posted on August 10, 2010 11:54

Back when Beverly Perdue was running for Governor, just before the election I needed a piece of election law clarified before I ran two ads – so I called the State Board of Elections. I wasn’t too hopeful. I thought, Here I am asking a bunch of Democrats about running ads attacking a Democrat – so what do you think they’re going to tell you? I figured, at best, I would have to wait until months after the election for an answer.

But the Election Board’s Executive Director, Gary Bartlett, and his staff (including Kim Strach) didn’t beat around the bush a bit. They gave me a blunt straight answer that didn’t cut Perdue any slack and I made the ads.

The Democrat appointed State Elections Board has been investigating and pillorying Democrats for going on seven years now and the whole time it hasn’t pilloried a single leading Republican. The Board investigated Democratic Secretary of Agriculture Meg Scott Phipps, Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Black and Democratic Governor Mike Easley. Its televised hearings into Democratic corruption made Chairman Larry Leake and Director Gary Bartlett potential candidates for the Republican Party Hall of Fame.

So it was surprising to open the newspaper the other morning and read Republicans calling for Leake and Bartlett to be fired, saying they’ve whitewashed a scandal involving Democratic Governor Bev Perdue.

My guess is the next words we hear will be the Democrats saying, Sure. Fine. Just give us one second to get out a pen to sign the order.


Anonymous said...

Good to hear. I hope my fellow Republicans that suggested a whitewashing reassess their claim.

Anonymous said...

Yes but the real big difference that people don't seem to realize or speak of is that this is the first time a sitting governor's campaign is under investigation. The rules for Easley, Black, Wright, etc., are clearly no longer in play. For example, Leake never sat in on investigative interviews before, and certainly never hired a plane to be present for them.

Anonymous said...

Given that Carter Wrenn's dayjob involves helping candidates get elected, it's certainly a nice chit to create to say pleasant (if irrelevant to matters at hand) things about the folks who might be overseeing your future work under threat of investigations and fines. The devil you know rather than any new blood in office, CW? The old boys club at work, right in front of our eyes.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't anyone talking about the obvious problem? Kim Strach. She is an employee of the Board-- not appointed nor elected by the people. She works at the pleasure of the Board and the Executive Director. She has leaked one-sided information and innuendo to the press in order to get even in the office and poise herself for domination of the agency. She isn't that smart or talented and rides on the backs of other hard-working intelligent employees and takes credit for their investigative talent. She should have never been hired in her current capacity, she cares more about her own image and getting her way than she does the truth. She's dangerous and should be fired. I wouldn't allow anyone with such questionable motives work for me.