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Civitas

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January/February 2012 • Vol. 4, no. 1

www.nccivitas.org

Krauthammer, Lewis and Brooks to Headline Conference in March

From Left to Right: National Radio Host, Jason Lewis; President of American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks; and Syndicated Columnist and Fox News Contributor, Charles Krauthammer. BY Bill Gilbert

T

he John W. Pope Civitas Institute

cordially invites you to the 2012 Conservative Leadership Conference (CLC) in Raleigh on March 2nd and 3rd, 2012 at the Marriott Hotel, Crabtree Valley.  Not only will North Carolina be one of the most hotly contested states in the 2012 presidential election, but we also face a constitutional amendment battle and a gubernatorial race.  Over the next

year, North Carolina will be locked in what many consider the most important political battle of our lives. The 2012 Conservative Leadership Conference reflects that struggle with the theme: “Battleground North Carolina.” To help motivate and educate citizens about what is going on in their government and equip them to make a difference, we have put together an outstanding list of speakers. At this time, we have Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, national

radio host Jason Lewis, and syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer confirmed as keynote speakers for this year’s Conference (More to be announced)! In addition, Civitas will offer two full days of training, motivation and networking. This year’s CLC will feature experts from organizations such as Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action for America, the American Enterprise Institute, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Texas Watchdog, and the

Civitas Institute, just to name a few. The Conference will energize, train and educate North Carolinians about the winning strategies for the crucial battles of 2012. With your help, the Civitas Institute will inform, educate and mobilize an army of  citizens to fight for conservative and free market solutions to the problems our state is facing. Register for CLC See form on Pg. 4, or visit: www.battlegroundnc.org

Pumped Dry? NC Motor Fuel Tax Rises 4 Cents BY Clark riemer

100 South Harrington Street Raleigh, N.C. 27603-1814 Vol. 4, No. 1

NON-PROFIT ORG. US POSTAGE PAID Permit #144 Reidsville, NC

Motorists in North Carolina faced a major jump in the gasoline tax at the beginning of 2012. The state gasoline tax rose 3.9 cents at the beginning of January to 38.9 cents. The new rate is the highest ever in North Carolina. Officials at the NC Department of Transportation have suggested the increase will cost the average

North Carolina driver about $40 a year. The jump will make North Carolina’s gas tax the fifth highest in the nation and the highest in the Southeastern United States according to data from the American Petroleum Institute. Only Connecticut, California, Hawaii and New York have higher gas tax rates. Lower rates in nearby states raise concerns that drivers near the border will cross state lines in order to purchase gas, hurting local gas stations in North Carolina. Both Virginia and South Carolina have a fixed rate gas tax that hasn’t risen since the 1980s. The state gas tax is in addition to the 18.4 cent federal gas tax. Combined, drivers pay 55.85 cents tax on every gallon of gas in North Carolina. The increase was compounded by the expiration of a federal tax credit for ethanol that raised ethanol taxes by 4.5 cents. As most gas sold in North Carolina contains ethanol, the combined tax increases caused an overnight jump of prices at the pump of around eight cents on January 1, 2012. The North Carolina gas tax is calculated

on a variable rate based on the price of wholesale gasoline. The rate is recalculated every six months based on a formula of a base tax of 17.5 cents/gallon plus 7 percent of the weighted wholesale price of gasoline over the previous six months. Additionally a 0.25 cent inspection fee is added to each gallon. New rates take effect each January and July. Last year, the gas tax rate increased by 2.5 cents in July and 0.6 cents in January. North Carolina’s gas tax has almost

In This Issue 2

3-4

5

Top Ten Highest Paid State Employees

CLC Information

Unemployment

continually risen over the last decade. The tax was briefly capped at 30 cents in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, but the cap was removed by the General Assembly in 2009 and the tax increases resumed. Republicans in the NC House passed a bill in November to cap the gasoline tax at 35 cents for the next six months, but the measure was not taken up in the Senate. gas tax Continued on Pg. 7

6

Legislature Overrides Perdue Veto

8

Scandal: Edwards


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January/February 2012

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nccivitas.org

Carolina Transparency Shows Most Lucrative State Agencies $1,100   $1,000   $900  

$100  

$800   $700   $600   $500  

$80  

$400   $300   $200  

$60  

$100  

$967,691

Ruffin McNeill

East Carolina University

$963,705

Thomas O’Brien

NC State University

$832,950

Thomas Ferguson

East Carolina University

$733,000

Michael Mill

UNC Chapel Hill

$720,597

Bruce Jaufmann

UNC Chapel Hill

$717,792

William Roper

UNC Health Care

$717,600

Marshall Runge

UNC Chapel Hill

$709,281

Brett Sheridan

UNC Chapel Hill

$692,012

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The following graphs are part of an ongoing project by the Civitas Institute through Carolina Transparency to make salary data from state and local governments in North Carolina publicly available. Please visit www.carolinatransparency.com for more data. The left graph, and the chart beneath it, indicate the highest paid state employees and the agencies they work for. Only one person on the state’s payroll makes a salary of more than one million dollars, but all of the top 10 are university affiliated. The right graph indicates the most lucrative state agencies to work for among agencies employing more than 10 people. With the apparent exception of the judicial system, which employs over 600 people at this average salary, agencies employing fewer people can have higher salaries. Missing from that graph are high-paying economic development agencies around the state employing only 1-5 people. On the other side, among only agencies employing more than 100 people, the list is dominated by universities.

$120   In thousands

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BY Bob Luebke

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CLC Lands Nationally Recognized Speakers Charles Krauthammer Fox News Contributor

Charles Krauthammer is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and political commentator. His weekly column appears in the The Washington Post and is syndicated in more than 200 newspapers and media outlets. He is a contributing editor to the Weekly

Jason Lewis Radio Show Host Jason Lewis is host of the nationally syndicated Jason Lewis Show and is the author of “Power Divided is Power Checked: The Argument for States’ Rights” from Bascom Hill Publishing. Jason started his radio career at KOA in Denver and has hosted local talk shows in Charlotte, NC

Hans von Spakovsky Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow

Brian P. Kemp

Secretary of State for the State of Georgia As Georgia’s Chief Elections Administrator, Secretary Kemp implemented numerous e-government solutions for voters and established his state as a national model for election security. The My Voter Page or “MVP” voter education website allows voters to view their sample ballot, find their early voting locations and times, find their Election Day polling location, verify their registration status and much more. Georgia’s military and overseas voters can also use MVP to download and print their absentee ballots. Secretary Kemp achieved

and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN where he is rated number one. He was also a regular substitute host for the Rush Limbaugh program. Jason was recently selected as one of the top 25 talk hosts in the country by Newsmax Magazine and has been twice featured in ABC Radio’s “The Year in Talk.” In 2011 he was named as one of “The Heavy Hundred” most important talk radio show hosts in the nation by Talkers Magazine. Jason writes a biweekly column for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis and writes editorials for newspapers throughout the country, including the Wall Street Journal. He also appears on nationally broadcast television programs, including: NBC’s Today Show, Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC. Hans von Spakovsky examines how civil justice is administered in state and federal courts as senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. As manager of the think tank’s Civil Justice Reform Initiative, von Spakovsky is particularly interested in the ways that plaintiffs’ attorneys and activists try to manipulate the courts for their own ends -- at the expense of the public. The project studies not only how the civil significant victories for both protection of election security and states rights when he filed suit against the U.S. Department of Justice to obtain preclearance of Georgia’s verification system for new voter registration applicants, which includes citizenship. Georgia can now verify that voter registration applicants are who they say they are, and that they are U.S. citizens. Secretary Kemp also implemented the Stop Voter Fraud website so citizens can report questionable election-related activity online or by calling the Secretary of State’s Voter Fraud Hotline. Additionally, the agency’s Investigations Division increased its partnerships with state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute voter fraud. Finally, Secretary Kemp established the Secretary of State’s Election Advisory Council, comprised of experienced election officials and leaders from across the state. The Council is tasked with reviewing the Georgia Election Code and State Election Board Rules, and making recommendations that improve and strengthen Georgia’s election laws and procedures.

Standard and The New Republic. He is a FOX News contributor, a regular panelist on FOX’s evening news program Special Report with Bret Baier and a weekly panelist on Inside Washington. In January 1981, Krauthammer began his journalistic career, joining The New Republic as a writer and editor. His New Republic writings won the 1984 “National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism.” In

1983, he began writing essays for TIME magazine. In 1985, he began a weekly column for The Washington Post for which he won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. In 2006, the Financial Times named Krauthammer the most influential commentator in America, saying “Krauthammer has influenced US foreign policy for more than two decades. He coined and developed ‘The Reagan

Moffit, a senior member of Heritage’s pace-setting health care team, directed the think tank’s Center for Health Policy Studies from 2003 until June 2010.   He was one of only a few conservatives to make Modern Healthcare magazine’s August 2010 list of

“The 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.” He has appeared on major cable news and broadcast networks, and is quoted regularly by USA Today and other leading newspapers. His analysis and commentary have been cited or published by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and The Washington Post, among scores of newspapers large and small. Moffit also has published in many professional journals, among them Health Affairs, Health Systems Review, Harvard Health Policy Review, Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy, Postgraduate Medicine and Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. He was a contributor to Controversial Issues in Social Policy (Allyn and Bacon, 2003), a university textbook on public policy.

justice system can be protected but improved and made more efficient, resulting in greater fairness and predictability for all. Among other responsibilities, von Spakovsky researches and writes about aspects of election law such as campaign finance, voter fraud and voter identification as well as registration and equipment issues. These have emerged as important topics in an era of razor-thin victory margins for national candidates.

His analysis and commentary have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Politico and Human Events, as well as such outlets as National Review Online and Townhall. He has testified before state and congressional committees and made presentations to, among other organizations, the National Association of Secretaries of State, the Federalist Society, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Bob Moffit

Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow

Doctrine’ in 1985.” Krauthammer has received innumerable awards, including the People for the American Way’s First Amendment Award, the Champion/Tuck Award for Economic Understanding, the first annual ($250,000) Bradley Prize, and the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism, an annual award given by the Eric Breindel Foundation.

Arthur Brooks

President of the American Enterprise Institute

Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a non-partisan public policy think tank in Washington, D.C. committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise. Until 2009, Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University, where his research focused on the intersections of economics, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Arthur has written eight books, including Gross National Happiness: Why Happiness Matters for America—and How We Can Get More of It (Basic Books, 2008), Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism (Basic Books, 2006), and the graduate business textbook Social Entrepreneurship (PrenticeHall, 2008).


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CLC Registration Form

An Activist’s Opinion on Civitas Training

Cut out and mail to: The Civitas Institute 100 South Harrington St. Raleigh, NC 27603 (919) 834-2099

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“Civitas has been providing me with resources, training, networking opportunities and encouragement since I became a conservative activist in 2009. Their events are always top-notch and include the best instructors and the most interesting speakers of our time. I’m always impressed with Civitas and am looking forward to attending another great event in March, the Conservative Lisa Marley Leadership Conference.

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Their Investigative Journalism class in Asheville in 2009 started me on the road to successful blogging. They partnered with Texas Watchdog and offered a class that gave me the tools and confidence that I needed to expose corruption in my local government and our state government, which led to several high-profile criminal cases in North Carolina. I could not have done it without Civitas. The North Carolina Tea Party Summit in Wilmington in 2010 was another pivotal event. Conservatives from all over North Carolina had an opportunity to meet and mingle and learn from each other. Civitas partnered with The Leadership Institute to put on a terrific Get Out the Vote seminar in addition to great sessions on social media and opposition research. Their GOTV tools gave us the skills and encouragement we needed in Dare County to have a highly successful Get Out the Vote effort, which brought out a record numbers of voters. Not content with just training and networking, Civitas inspired us with their speaker lineup. We heard inspiring remarks from Mary Katherine Ham of Fox News and an encouraging speech from Michael Barone. I’m excited to see that Civitas has once again lined up so many great opportunities for networking, training and inspiration at the upcoming Conservative Leadership Conference. I secured my ticket the day they went on sale. This is one event you don’t want to miss.”

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The Civitas Citizen of the Month is an award given to recognize a person who has had an impact on state or local policy debate, provided information to the public, or otherwise had a noteworthy accomplishment. The Citizen of the Month will be recognized at our monthly poll luncheons and honored with a gift. If you know someone who fits the definition and has given of their time for a constitutional, free-market society based on liberty, please email citizen@nccivitas.org.

_____________________________________________________________

CLC Agenda Saturday

Friday •

Morning breakout session

• •

Afternoon breakout session Dinner with Charles Krauthammer

Lunch with Arthur Brooks

Sessions will be led by: • The Heritage Foundation • Heritage Action For America • The John W. Pope Civitas Institute • Civitas Action • Americans for Prosperity North Carolina • The American Enterprise Institute • Texas Watchdog • And more! Sessions and Topics are subject to change

• • • • • •

Wake-up NC – Continental breakfast session Morning session with special guest speakers Morning breakout session Lunch with Jason Lewis Afternoon breakout session Networking social to close

Session topics include: • How to be a Citizen Lobbyist • Free Market Academy • What Would the Founding Fathers Do? Tea Party Activism • Show Me the Money: Mapping the Left • Is Obamacare Constitutional? • Battleground NC: Races to Watch and What You Can Do • Get Ready for 2012: Working the Polls • How Obama Can Win in NC • Digging for Dirt: Citizen Watchdog • Investigative Journalism (bring your laptop!) • Hi, My Name Is…: Making an Impact on Talk Radio • Elections & Reform


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Unemployment Figures Drop, Perdue Spins Data Prematurely between her office and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina. Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn said in a statement, “Unemployment data can affect confidence of markets, consumers, and employers. Federal law provides safeguards to ensure no one uses this information for unfair gain.”

So, while unemployment numbers have declined in the last two months, North Carolina must endeavor to continue to put its citizens back to work and at the same time ensure accurate reporting of data. If citizens can’t trust what their government is reporting to them, they will not be able to determine whether North Carolina’s employment condition is recovering or not.

Unemployment: Sept. 2008-Nov. 2011 12.0% 11.0% 10.0% 9.0%

United States North Carolina

8.0% 7.0% 6.0% Sep-08 Oct-08 Nov-08 Dec-08 Jan-09 Feb-09 Mar-09 Apr-09 May-09 Jun-09 Jul-09 Aug-09 Sep-09 Oct-09 Nov-09 Dec-09 Jan-10 Feb-10 Mar-10 Apr-10 May-10 Jun-10 Jul-10 Aug-10 Sep-10 Oct-10 Nov-10 Dec-10 Jan-11 Feb-11 Mar-11 Apr-11 May-11 Jun-11 Jul-11 Aug-11 Sep-11 Oct-11 Nov-11

North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November dropped to 10 percent down from 10.4 percent in October. The private sector added 4,600 jobs, while the public sector shed 800. Even as the latest numbers look positive, North Carolina’s unemployment rate is a full 1.4 percent higher than the national rate of 8.6 percent. National unemployment figures also fell from October, landing at 8.6 percent from 9 percent in October. Furthermore, national unemployment levels in November 2011 were a full 1.2 percent below what they were in November 2010, whereas North Carolina’s current rate is 0.2 percent above November 2010’s unemployment rate of 9.8 percent. The release of November’s unemployment numbers coincided with a Carolina Journal report suggesting that Governor Perdue’s press office had access to confidential

employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics before its scheduled release and could be in violation of federal law. As this article is written, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce is concerned that Perdue’s office broke security protocol and has requested that Governor Perdue provide documents and emails

Percent Unemployment Seasonally Adjusted

BY Susan Myrick


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January/February 2012

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Perdue Veto Count Continues BY Karen Duquette

Governor Perdue has vetoed 16 bills over the course of the 2011 legislative season. Her latest veto, SB 9, No Discriminatory Purpose in Death Penalty, sought to target the controversial 2009 Racial Justice Act (RJA). SB 9 eliminated the use of statistical trends as a means of appealing death sentences for death row inmates, which was a key provision in RJA. RJA has placed many obstacles in prosecutors’ paths and has essentially repealed capital punishment. Of the 157 death row inmates, all but three, including nonminority defendants, have opted to use RJA to attempt to avoid the death penalty. After successful passage in both chambers, Perdue vetoed SB 9 in midDecember. Because the legislature was not in session, as required by state law, Governor Perdue issued a proclamation reconvening legislators to consider overriding the bill. If she had not recalled legislators to return by January 8, her veto would have been canceled. A successful override vote requires a three-fifths majority from both the House and Senate. After an hour-long debate, the override easily passed in the Senate with a vote of 31-19. However, House Republicans needed a handful of Democrats to join them to reach the 72 necessary votes for the three-fifths requirement. Instead of voting on the bill due to a lack of required votes, the House sent SB9 to a judiciary committee and

Photo: iStockPhoto.com

created a new, special committee to study racial discrimination and the death penalty. According to legislative leadership, this particular legislation will not be addressed again anytime soon. The House also scheduled a midnight session to address SB 727, No Dues Checkoff for School Employees Act. The bill, overridden by the Senate in July, would end the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) ability to use the state to collect automatic dues from members’ paychecks. With 69 votes in support of the bill, the House mustered just enough votes to meet the override threshold. Five Democrats were absent and two Democrats voted with Republicans, Reps. Bill Brisson (D-Bladen) and Jim Crawford (D-Granville). NCAE has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the session and the override vote, though it is unlikely this

challenge will stand in court. Several other important vetoed bills remain active. HB 2, Healthcare Freedom Act, would have allowed North Carolina to join the Florida multistate lawsuit challenging Obamacare. While legislative leadership signed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit, it is unlikely legislators will reconsider HB 2 in the near future. Perhaps one of the most significant vetoed bills, HB 351, Restore Confidence in Government Act, sought to prevent voter fraud by requiring photo ID at poll sites. Civitas polling has consistently demonstrated that a large majority of North Carolinians favor voter ID yet Governor Perdue chose to veto this important bill. Passing voter ID legislation remains a vital conservative policy initiative and legislators continue to keep this legislation alive in case the opportunity to override becomes available. The Energy Jobs Act, SB 709, is yet

another bill that may be considered in future sessions. This legislation would have looked for ways to increase energy production in North Carolina by expanding energy exploration, including fracking. Perdue vetoed this legislation claiming it violated the separation of powers clause by forcing the governor to act. Despite the excessive amount of vetoes stamped by Governor Perdue, the legislature was able to override several key bills. The 2011 budget bill was the first budget ever vetoed and ever overridden. This bill cuts spending without raising taxes and also protects classroom funding. SB 781, the Regulatory Reform Act, cuts back on regulatory authority of state agencies and makes the rulemaking process more transparent. This law was a major win for North Carolina’s business community and for our economy. The legislature also had success with socially conservative legislation such as HB 854, Woman’s Right to Know, passed through the three-fifths override threshold in both chambers. This bill requires women considering abortion to review the risks and alternatives, view an ultrasound of the child, and wait 24 hours before having the procedure. Conservatives have estimated it will reduce abortions in the state by 3,000 per year. With one of the lowest approval ratings in the nation, Governor Perdue continues to veto legislation supported by the majority of North Carolinians. It will be interesting to watch and see what happens in November 2012 as a result of her decisions.

State Legislative Battles Important

BY francis Deluca

The 2012 candidate filing period for North Carolina does not open until February 13, 2012 but it is already shaping up to be a busy year in contests for the North Carolina General Assembly. The filing period runs from February 13 to February 29. On May 8, voters will decide in the primary who goes on to the general election for each party and they will also decide the fate of the Defense of Marriage Amendment to the NC Constitution that will be on the primary ballot. That amendment reads: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State” and voters will simply vote yes or no on whether the NC Constitution shall be amended by adding those words. While there will be hard fought political races up and down the ballot from the local courthouse to the White House (there is no US Senate race in North Carolina in 2012 - check back in 2014 when Kay Hagan (D-NC) is up for reelection), the elections, which will probably bring the most long term change to our state will be the legislative elections. The 2010 elections produced a large class of freshmen legislators, accounting for almost one third of the Republican caucuses in the House

and Senate. The freshman class made up about one third of the state Senate and about one fourth the state House. Moving into the 2012 election cycle, we will see much of the same kind of turnover. As a result of legislative redistricting, six new state Senators and 14 new state House members were guaranteed due to no incumbent in the new districts. On the House side, eight members have announced plans to not run or seek another office. This means that the House will see no fewer than 22

new members. There are also a number of seats where incumbents will have a battle to hold their seat either in the primary because of the new geography and demographics of the district or in the general election due to the changed partisan make up of the district. The 2010 elections produced a much more conservative legislature. The 2012 elections will, in all likelihood, seat more conservative legislators. In many cases the real challenge, due to the new redistricting, will be in the primary. Many outside groups

recognizing the new political landscape are recruiting candidates and planning on participating in primaries in a much larger fashion than in past years. The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), which has traditionally been a pro-Democrat group, has even recruited one of its local leaders to run in a Republican primary for House District 80 in Davidson County. We will be seeing more of this type of action as groups like the NCAE and Trial Lawyers - traditional Democratic Party power brokers - acknowledge that Republicans will likely be in charge of the legislature for the foreseeable future. There will also be lively congressional primaries as Republicans line up for open seats and to challenge vulnerable Democrats. The 7th in Eastern North Carolina, the 8th in Central North Carolina and the 11th in Western North Carolina have all been made less friendly to the current Democrat incumbent. The 13th is an open seat in the Triangle area and is a Republican leaning district. All of these districts already have more than one announced Republican candidate. On the Democratic side, it appears few primaries will take place although it looks like there may be one in the 10th. Voters are still waiting to see whether the two incumbent congressmen in the new 4th decide to have a primary.


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Perdue Fundraiser Pleads Guilty to Justice Obstruction BY Matt willoughby

A former staffer and fundraiser for Gov. Bev Perdue’s campaign pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in a Wake County courtroom on December 15, 2011. But Peter Reichard offered an Alford’s plea of guilty in which a defendant admits the state has enough evidence to convict but doesn’t admit to being actually guilty of the crime. He made the plea before Superior Court Judge Donald Stepehens. Reichard was indicted by a Wake County grand jury in November of last year for obstruction of justice. He was accused of scheming to allow a Perdue supporter, Charles Michael Fulenwider, to donate more than the maximum legal individual contribution of $4,000. The scheme helped pay the salary of another Perdue staff member, Julia Leigh Sitton. The indictment alleges Reichard asked Fulenwider to funnel $32,000 to the Reichardowned Tryon Capital Ventures, which then went to pay Sitton. The compensation was not reported to the State Board of Elections. Investigators for the State Board of Elections uncovered the scheme and the board referred the case to the

Willoughby wanted Reichard under supervised probation but Stephens said Reichard didn’t benefit from the scheme. It can be argued, however, that Reichard benefited from the influence his fundraising gave him with the Perdue campaign. Reichard was also fined $25,000 plus court costs. Reichard is one of three former Perdue staffers indicted. Sitton was also charged with obstruction of justice and making false reports. The grand jury found although she knew Reichard was supplementing her salary she didn’t report it to the State Board of Elections. Furthermore, Trawick “Buzzy” Hamilton Stubbs was charged with obstruction of justice and making a false report. He arranged campaign flights for Perdue but didn’t report them. The indictment alleges Stubbs reported the payments as contributions to the state Democratic Party when the flights benefited the Perdue campaign directly. The District Attorney’s office said Stubbs should have known how to properly report such contributions because he was a lawyer and was a treasurer for political campaigns who had to file disclosure reports. The cases against Stubbs and Sitton have been continued.

Reichard awaits jury verdict. Photo: Civitas District Attorney. District Attorney Colon Willoughby told Judge Stephens a clear message needed to be sent in this case. “Sadly this type of behavior is becoming the expected norm in campaign finance,” said Willoughby. “I believe we should demand more of those persons who directly influence our elections,” he told the court. “ If the courts and the communities don’t take this type of behavior seriously, I don’t think we can expect the public to have confidence in the electoral process,”

said Willoughby. Judge Stephens said he was surprised a person of such good standing in his community would get caught up in “sheer foolishness.” Stephens said the rules exist to guarantee an honest and fair election. “Without those rules,” said Stephens, “we’ll end up, and we do sometimes, with an uncontrolled free for all.” Judge Stephens suspended a sentence of six to eight months in prison and instead put Reichard on unsupervised probation.

Gas Tax Statistics - NC Highest in Southeast CONTINUED FROM PG 1

Senators were worried about potential revenue losses, especially for the highway system which almost entirely funds road maintenance and repair through the tax.

Others saw little need for a cap, such as Sen. Clark Jenkins (D-Edgecombe) who was quoted in Business Week in June 2011 as saying, “I don’t think the gas tax affects the price.” Some proponents of eliminating

the tax have suggested that lost revenue could be offset by ending the practice of transferring highway funds to help pay for the Highway Patrol. Others have pointed out that despite the state’s increase in population; gas sales have

State Gas Tax Rates

remained relatively stagnant. As more and more North Carolinians buy high gas mileage vehicles or even vehicles which no longer use gasoline, alternatives to the current gas tax scheme will need to be increasingly considered.

NC Gas Tax 2003-2012

Source: http://www.dornc.com/taxes/motor/rates.html $0.40

22.5¢

19.7¢

38.9¢

21.4¢

21.8¢

$0.38

$0.35

18.8¢

16.8¢ 20.9¢

20.8¢

$0.33

$0.30

20.0¢

$0.28

$0.25

Cents per gallon Data courtesy of www.taxfoundation.org

30.4¢

$0.23

$0.20 2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012


8

January/February 2012

CAPITOL CONNECTION

Civitas •

SCANDAL

nccivitas.org

Edwards Trial: High Stakes Poker Game

BY Bob Luebke

Later this month former presidential candidate and North Carolina Senator John Edwards will go on trial in federal district court in Greensboro. Last June Edwards was indicted on six felony counts of violating federal campaign laws and using campaign funds to cover up an affair with his campaign videographer Rielle Hunter. If convicted on all counts, Edwards could face up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines. The upcoming trial has already produced a few surprises and months of legal maneuvering. In July, the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) ruled that since Edwards continued to receive federal money after he dropped out of the 2008 presidential race, he must return $2.1 million in federal matching campaign funds. In early December, Edwards’ attorneys requested that two FEC officials be allowed to testify that money from Bunny Mellon and the late Fred Baron was personal in nature – allowable under FEC rules – and not campaign related. In addition, later in the month Edwards’ legal team made a request for a sixty day trial delay, citing the trial’s

Edwards wants to delay trial because of a medical condition. Photo: Fox News Video, aired 12/27/11. “complexity” and an “undisclosed medical condition” by John Edwards. As of this writing, Judge Eagles has yet to respond to the requests. Adding to the already high interest in the case is its potential to break new legal ground. At the heart of the case is how the court will view roughly $1.5 million in funds Edwards received from “Bunny” Mellon and the late Fred Baron. Simply stated, defense attorneys will attempt to show the money was personal and not campaignrelated. Prosecutors will attempt to show Edwards knew about the money,

intending to use it to keep Rielle Hunter quiet and his campaign afloat. The Edwards trial is the highest profile trial of a political figure in North Carolina in some time. It’s a high stakes poker game with no shortage of subplots. If convicted, Edwards faces loss of his law license, 2 to 5 years in jail and separation from his children and up to $1.5 million in fines. However, the stakes are equally high on the other side. After botching several high profile public corruption cases, federal prosecutors are looking for redemption. Still, legal experts are

quick to point out the case is no slam dunk. The feds’ star witness, former Edwards staffer, Andrew Young, may have credibility issues. North Carolina and national Democrats can’t be happy about the timing of the trial. Parading the tawdry details of a former high profile Democratic leader and presidential candidate is not a story you want splashed across the front pages months before a general election. It also can’t help that the trial comes on the heels of an indictment of a former Democratic governor for campaign finance violations and only weeks after the indictments of three campaign staffers of the current Democratic governor Beverly Perdue. Barack Obama dearly needs North Carolina to win reelection. An Edwards trial and possible conviction could work to jeopardize those efforts and also take the shine off the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. John Edwards made a very comfortable living influencing juries. He will soon find himself the object of a jury’s attention. How his poor behavior and tarnished public reputation impacts the outcome of the biggest trial of his life is a question that will loom over the coming months.

Help Sponsor The CLC Conference $15,000

title sponsor

$10,000

founder’s circle sponsor

$5,000

president’s club sponsor Below is an example of sponsor benefits:* • Verbal recognition of sponsorship at dinner • Two reserved tables at all meals for you and your guests (Prime Location) • Invitation to a private VIP reception • Logo projected and rotating on screens prior to the start of the dinner and trainings • 1 vendor table in a prime location if desired • Multiple full passes for the conference • Ad inside of program • Sponsor logo in selected Civitas publications with visibility to more than 20,000 individuals monthly for 6 months • Sponsor name or logo prominently featured at registration • Sponsor logo on the Civitas Institute website (average of 20,000 monthly views) with direct hyperlink to sponsor’s homepage through conclusion of dinner event • Sponsor logo projected on screens until dinner presentation begins • Option to sponsor a meal

*Sponsorships benefits are based upon the level of donation. Please visit www.battlegroundnc.org for additional sponsorship levels and full details.

At the Raleigh Mariott Hotel, Crabtree Valley

Conference Passes Full Pass

$165

Full Pass with VIP Reception

$200

Friday Training

$100

Saturday Training

$75

For more information or to register, contact The Civitas Institute at 919-834-2099, visit www.battlegroundnc.org or tear out and mail in form on pg. 4


Civitas Capitol Connection January/February 2012