Friday, April 08, 2011

Senate Skulker unmasked -- and has a bright future

So: It turns out that an aide to a state House member -- now a former aide, that is -- was responsible for putting printed information critical of former Gov. W.W. Holden, who was impeached, convicted and removed from office by the Senate in 1871, on the desks of state Senators recently. Carlton Huffman, a Republican Party enthusiast who worked for an evidently uninvolved legislator from western N.C., said he and he alone was responsible for putting the materials on senators' desks. It's against Senate rules for a non-senator to put any materials on Senate desks, but for a while no one knew who did it. Senate Majority Leader Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, sheepishly told his colleagues that the Senate's security cameras were on the blink at the time.  Huffman took responsibility a few days ago and is no longer employed at the legislature. But I predict he will have a bright future in politics.

The Senate had been about to consider a bipartisan bill to pardon Gov. Holden for the way in which he tried to quell violence by the Ku Klux Klan and others, but Huffman's ploy distributing critical information about Holden worked like a charm. Nervous senators sent the bill back to committee, and it's not entirely clear if or when the resolution might reappear on the Senate floor. There has been talk of a resurrection of the bill, however.  Update: April 12, in the Capitol.

While Huffman has lost his job, his reputation probably won't suffer. After all, politics ain't beanbag, as author Finley Peter Dunne wrote around the turn of the century. It's hardball. And any legislative staffer who can singlehandedly figure out how to derail legislation, get it sent back to committee and put the leadership of the N.C. Senate to rout likely will have his choice of jobs in the future. No telling how high he might rise, whether as a candidate, lobbyist or strategist.


blpadge2 said...

Surprised the Sons of Confederate Veterans haven't offered him his choice of position by now. W.W. Holden has been their anti-Reconstruction whipping boy for years.

Michele said...

so what was the info that was so damaging about Holden?

Steve Jones said...

This is an interesting insider story, but a couple things bother me:
1) What exactly was Huffman's motive? I only know what I read on Wikipedia, but it sounds like Governor Holden was battling a KKK that was a direct threat to the NC government at the time, and
2) Don't our legislators in Raleigh have anything more pressing to work on (and rework) that a pardon for actions that happened 130 years ago?