Republican Tom Murry, in an expensive campaign to hold on to his NC House District 41 seat against an effective challenge by Democrat Gale Adcock, appears to have stretched military rules and distorted limited experience in order to solicit votes. Murry’s campaign has been making extensive use of web ads, including Facebook promoted posts. One such ad on Facebook, showing Murry in military uniform, appears to occupy the boundaries of military rules on political activity.
Murry apparently joined the NC Army National Guard in June as a Judge Advocate General (JAG), just 4 months ago, and is now using his uniform in a campaign ad. Military rules allow the use of certain photographs in uniform in campaign literature, which accurately reflect actual performance of duty, and with a specific disclaimer, in the context of other non-military biographical information but not as the “primary graphic representation” as Murry has appeared to have done with his web ad on Facebook.
When Chad Barefoot quit his day job as Skip Stam’s assistant to run for a custom-made State Senate seat, he landed on his feet with a job at the political consulting firm of connected Republican Frank Williams. Campaign finance records show that about that time Stam’s campaign committee started paying a regular fee of $4,333.33 for “campaign consulting” to Williams’ firm Pioneer Strategies spaced about every month until Barefoot was elected. Beginning January 2012 there were 10 payments of $4,333.22 and one final payment of $8,666.66 on 10/17/12 for a total of $51,999.99. Barefoot’s campaign had the help of a lot of direct and indirect money, as thoroughly detailed by the Independent weekly, and he was elected that November.
Campaign finance records don’t show that the veteran politician Stam had ever hired Pioneer Strategies before 2012, or after, or that he ever paid such sums for “campaign consulting”. The closest that Stam’s records show is a one-time $4,200 in 2006 to JN Dollar for “mail service” and several payments totaling about $10,000 in 2000 to JN Dollar for “radio ads”. In addition there was one 2012 payment $1,500 to Pioneer Strategies for “website redesign”. You’d have thought that $52,000 for “campaign consulting” might include a website design, especially as Skip Stam is more likely to be giving campaign advice than receiving it. The coincidence of payments may not amount to a smoking gun, but there’s enough bad optics to raise eyebrows more than shot of botox could.
NC House members Tim Moffit and Tom Murry received campaign contributions from two South Carolina men who have since been indicted on charges of illegal gambling and money laundering totalling $386 million.
The campaign committee of Tom Murry, NC House District 41, received a $2,000 check from J Michael Caldwell of South Carolina, listed as “President” of a company simply stated as “Gateway”, on 1/29/2013, one day before the North Carolina State House reconvened (after a 1/9/2013 organizational session). On the same day, 1/29/2013, the campaign committee of Tim Moffitt, NC House District 116, received a $2,000 check from Bobby Mosley of South Carolina, listed only as “Principal” with no employer notation. Caldwell is Mosley’s son-in-law and together they ran a gambling enterprise spanning multiple corporate entities and over 600 internet cafes in multiple states.
On 8/14/2013 an indictment was entered in federal court in South Carolina naming J Michael Caldwell, Bobby Mosley, Sr., Gateway Systems, LLC, Gateway Gaming, LLC, Frontier Software Systems, LLC and Frontier Gaming, Inc, as defendants on one count of conducting an illegal gambling business and one count of money laundering related to the alleged illegal gambling. It has been described as “the biggest gambling ring bust in South Carolina history.”
If they won’t tell us what’s in fracking fluid, and it becomes a crime in NC to reveal fracking chemicals, would it be a crime to keep guessing random substances until you hit one? “Raspberry jam? No. Frappuccino? No. Ethylene glycol? I’m not at liberty to say, but you’re under arrest. Oh, and Starbucks just called about a copyright violation. It’s Frappuccino®, and they’re suing you for defamation. Corporate just called, and raspberry jam may or may not be an ingredient because those seeds keep the cracks apart the same way they get stuck between your teeth, so you’re under arrest for that too.”
DENR Secretary John Skvarla grimaced his way through a February 19th press briefing on the Dan River coal ash spill. Only as he walked smartly away from a clamoring press corps, which was chagrined at the briefing’s premature cessation, did he crack a smile, followed by a smirking Tom Reeder, his Water Quality Man Friday. They had promised a press conference that would last as long as there were questions to be asked, but Michael Biesecker of the Associated Press had apparently asked one too many.
A disconsolate Skvarla famously urged his besieged staff to “smile, be happy, have fun and enjoy the process – because if we can’t do that we’re all doing the wrong thing”. He even urged them by email to include it as a measurable goal in their Employee Performance Plans. By any public measure Skvarla is failing miserably in this category, though to be fair he and other political appointees may sit around privately laughing at the sorry state of North Carolina’s eroding environmental protections.
Skvarla’s oral fixation manifested itself early as he visited DENR’s disparate divisions and offices to get to know his new underlings. He surprised some managers in conversation with his personal affectation for tooth brushing after lunch, which he claimed put a whole new shine and invigorating outlook on the rest of the working day. It might have been dismissed as personal quirk except that later in the year at a DENR leadership training session, after regaling managers with his life story, personal leadership credo and management mantras, he had staff distribute toothbrushes emblazoned with the DENR logo along with toothpaste for the purpose of invigorating the latter half of every work day.
The inner cynic thinks this was dreamed up, Mad Men style, over mid-day martinis, but it’s entirely plausible that regular preventive maintenance can lead to a better and more productive work environment. Perhaps we could all learn from Skvarla’s happy teeth. Perhaps this could apply equally to the natural environment. How hard could it be? Because, if we can’t have a better natural environment “we’re all doing the wrong thing”.
NC House Speaker Thom Tillis, has reportedly loaned $250,000 of personal money to his US Senate campaign committee. His Cornelius home is currently on the market for sale at an asking price of $825,000, according to Carolina Multiple Listing Services as listed on Realtor.com. His wife Susan, a real estate broker, is the listing agent at Allen Tate Realtors in Charlotte.
Real estate records indicate that a mortgage debt in the amount of $417,000 was satisfied in June. Earlier this year in February a different loan in the amount of $200,000 was secured by the property. It would appear that Thom Tillis intends to throw everything he has at the US Senate race.
Update: Tillis is selling his “domicile” but it’s not his only Mecklenburg property. He has a more valuable house on Lake Norman, and condo in Davidson. He’ll be one home less but won’t be homeless.
Someone’s been a busy bee or, should I say, busy WASP. Traces of Bryan “WASP 101” Holloway, preppy fashion blogger and NC State Representative, have been disappearing from the internet since the big reveal by Ivy Style on May 30th. (For those new to the legislative fashion game, WASP is an acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. WASP style is also known as “preppy” or suggestive of clothing styles associated with upper-class northeastern private university-preparatory schools and Ivy League colleges).
Not only has the original “WASP 101” blog been shut down but related sites have been removed or abridged and archived copies have been systematically removed. Continue reading