Oh my, that turning worm has some spiky bits.
The revelation that Democratic appropriations kingpins may face a House ethics investigation of their campaign receipts from lobbyists for recipients of government grants and contracts moves Republicans closer to gaining a corruption issue in 2010.This little jewel won't help much either. Sen. Burr (R-NC) must be very happy.
Republicans know well how lapses in ethical standards can sink a political party. They lost control of the House in the 2006 midterm election, succumbing in part to accusations from Democrats that the GOP had produced a "culture of corruption" in which lobbyists showered gifts on lawmakers in exchange for government contracts and other legislative favors.
The Democratic chairman and senior Republican on the House ethics committee dropped their political bomb Thursday night, announcing that the panel is reviewing the practice of lawmakers steering money and contracts to favored companies, and then receiving campaign contributions in return for the "earmarks."
The announcement came months after the Justice Department began a criminal investigation of the matter and a repetition of House votes on Republican motions — all of them defeated — calling for an ethics probe of lawmakers who engage in what is often called a "pay-to-play" system for funneling federal dollars to select companies and projects.
The review could turn into a full-blown ethics investigation later, with the potential for scathing reports that could become campaign fodder.
Democratic Reps. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, Pete Visclosky of Indiana and Jim Moran of Virginia, all members of the money-dispensing House Appropriations Committee, received significant campaign donations from lobbyists from a defunct firm, PMA, and its clients — companies that got money for pet projects.
The wife of former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley has been fired from her $170,000-a-year position at N.C. State University....and yes - it is that Erskine Bowles.
UNC system president Erskine Bowles announced Mary Easley's termination Monday, hours after the school's chancellor resigned over the controversy.
Meanwhile, e-mails released by N.C. State indicate the former governor was involved in the school's hiring of his wife, who had refused to step down despite calls from top university officials.
Mary Easley ran a speakers series and an academic center dealing with law enforcement training. She began at the university as a teacher.
The e-mails were released as Chancellor James Oblinger became the third school official to leave a post in the flap over Mary Easley's job.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A top North Carolina education official has resigned amid questions about his role in the controversial hiring of a former first lady for a university post.
North Carolina State University Chancellor James Oblinger said in a statement released Monday by the university that he is stepping down because the scrutiny of a job given to former first lady Mary Easley is a distraction for the school. Easley was hired when her husband, Mike Easley, was governor.
Oblinger had asked Easley to resign her position, but she hasn't.
N.C. State has been under fire because of a severance package Oblinger gave to the official who hired Easley and because of the salary Easley received. The official, former provost Larry Nielsen, resigned last month.
Let there be more cleaning, it is good for the system.