Since the 2004 elections, the Public Campaign Fund has been available for state-level judicial candidates who choose to accept substantial public campaign money in exchange for strict spending and fund-raising limits, freeing judges from having to raise money from lawyers and businesspeople who appear in their courts. But public financing won't work unless taxpayers mark "Yes" on a check-off box on the N.C. income tax form. That transfers $3 to the fund (without increasing a person's tax bill). Unfortunately, some tax preparers still aren't pointing it out to taxpayers and automatically mark it "no." So, those of you who have waited 'til the last minute to file your taxes, make sure you (or your preparer) mark "yes" on that box.
On April 3, members of the state House voted unanimously to require state Treasurer Richard Moore to divest the state's pension and retirement funds of investments in companies that do business with the Sudanese government. The Sudan (Darfur) Divestment Act would align North Carolina with universities, cities, states and private pension plans across the country that have pulled money out of Sudan in response to the genocidal acts perpetrated by the government. The new legislation gives companies 90 days to clean up their act before the state initiates divestment. The state would then have 15 months to fully divest. After it passed the House, the bill was referred to the Senate.
The N.C. Republican Party directed hundreds of thousands of dollars in party business to one of its volunteer board members, according to a Charlotte Observer report. Rob Moseley, the GOP treasurer, oversaw the payment of $150,000 to his direct-mailing company, though party officials insist Moseley never actually wrote checks to himself. (Other officers took care of that for him, thank goodness.) Since 2003, Moseley's ASAP Direct Mail Inc. of Raleigh has printed and mailed $278,000 worth of campaign literature for the party. As a private organization, the GOP can conduct business as it pleases—but if we were Republicans, we'd sure want the party to avoid those kinds of conflicts.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr wrote a letter in opposition to the Navy's controversial plans to build an airstrip near a wildlife refuge, joining a growing chorus of elected officials against the project. Burr's letter, which cited environmental concerns, negative economic impact and hazards to pilots as insurmountable obstacles to construction, puts the letter Sen. Elizabeth Dole wrote last week to shame. Dole, who hasn't lived in North Carolina since forever, wrote a letter containing a list of questions for the Navy to answer. "I will carefully evaluate how the Navy responds to these serious and legitimate concerns as I make my conclusions about this long-standing issue," she wrote. Lame.