Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fox became a high price for Perdue

If you read Mark Johnson's story on the racist e-mail sent from state ABC board chairman Doug Fox's e-mail account at his law firm, or heard about Gov. Bev Perdue demanding and getting his resignation Tuesday, you know that Fox brought a lot of trouble on himself.

But Fox has been a problem for her more than a year, beginning last year when liquor lobbyists urged potential campaign contributors to give money to Perdue so they could keep Fox as chairman of the board. Mark Johnson and Lynn Bonner had that story, too.

Nearly a year ago, here's what we had to say about this mess on May 2, 2008:


Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue has a problem on her hands and she isn't even governor yet. She isn't even the Democratic nominee for governor. Voters will finish determining the winner of that race on May 6. But her problem is the appearance that the liquor industry has expectations of a deal that if she's elected she will reappoint a favored chairman of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, giving those who sell and distribute hard liquor some advantages now enjoyed by the beer and wine industries.

That expectation was outlined in a Feb. 14 e-mail message to liquor industry figures from Paul Criscuolo, vice president of Southern Wine & Spirits in Miami. Mr. Criscuolo's e-mail said it was important to the business that Lt. Gov. Perdue be re-elected, and asked recipients to contribute to her campaign, report McClatchy Newspapers' Mark Johnson and Lynn Bonner.

"It is vital that Lt. Governor Perdue wins the Democratic nomination and then captures the Governorship if this needed reform will take place," Mr. Criscuolo wrote. "If this happens, Chairman Fox should be reinstated. With that we can envision off-premise tastings ."

The e-mail, reported by the News & Observer last month, prompted Lt. Gov. Perdue's campaign to announce it would refuse such contributions. Campaign lawyer John Wallace wrote to Mr. Criscuolo that his statements were "unacceptable." The campaign has returned more than $5,000 in liquor industry contributions.
Two weeks ago Mr. Fox held a "campaign event" for Lt. Gov. Perdue at his home. Ms. Perdue has said the event was not a campaign fundraiser, but rather a "meet and greet."

Candidate Perdue is entitled to meet anyone she chooses. But in an era of heightened awareness following corruption cases that have sent a former state senator, former agriculture commissioner and former speaker of the House to federal prison, surely she recognizes the implications of her decision to make Mr. Fox part of her campaign itinerary. It sends a public message that she is comfortable with an industry that has tried to raise money for her election under the assumption she'll help that industry.

There's nothing new about this kind of "pay to play" politics in Raleigh. The legislature has taken steps to crack down on the cozy fundraising relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers, but some folks still don't get it.

In this case, the liquor industry wants the right to give away free drinks - promotional rights that beer and wine already can use to promote their products. Mr. Fox backed a policy change last fall allowing such promotions for liquor, but rescinded it after the Observer inquired about the arrangement.
If Lt. Gov. Perdue believes such promotions would be good public policy and keeping Mr. Fox in exchange for the industry's support is a wise move, she should say so now so the public will know her plans. Better yet, she ought to make a decision that next January would be a good time for a new state ABC chairman.


Unknown said...

So Jack,

What does this prove? Just wondering what your motive was to post this story?

Anonymous said...

Shane, Jack already proved it. He's a statist and there is nothing else to say.

Anonymous said...

This is 99.9% pure frivilous garbage and shows Perdue is nothing but a pandering liberal feminist racist herself who apparently has a some problem with white males and wants to publically exert her powers over them to embarrass them abusing her authority for the media mice. What a joke she is. Pat McCrory should have been elected and would never have attempted some asinine pc political power play as this.
Had only Mecklenburg libs voted their mayor in as governor and the work on the outerbelt would have already begun along with getting more bang for our buck from the east for a change.

Anonymous said...

Can I please get some cheese with all that whine from the PM supporters. Including paul cameron. PM lost. Charlotte mayors always lose and always will lose. Get over it.

Anonymous said...