McCrory fails to get rid of 'pay to play' politics
McCrory finds himself on the wrong side of an ethical issue again, this time coming in the form of 'pay to play' allegations. Since 1999, three prisons in NC have been maintained by a private company headed by Graeme Keith, and recently their contract came to end. McCrory, however, who interceded on Keith's behalf over the objections of prison officals, received $12,000 in contributions from this long time political donor. It seems the old 'pay to play' politics has resurfaced in North Carolina, as top officials hand out government contracts to top political donors.
Read more at the Beaufort Observer
The McClatchy newspapers (Charlotte Observer and News & Observerbroke a story Friday (10-30-15) that reveals much about how the state does business. In this case the issue was whether prison maintenance should be handled by private contractors or by state employees. A big political contributor, to candidates of both political parties, and personal friend of Governor Pat McCrory was trying to get a maintenance contract extended. His company had been given a contract to maintain three prisons in 1999 during the Jim Hunt administration. The article reported: Keith's political contributions to Democrats in power during this time included $2,700 to House Speaker Jim Black, $5,900 to Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker, $3,250 to Gov. Bev Perdue and $1,000 each to governors Jim Hunt and Mike Easley. It also reports that "Graeme Keith has given more than $50,000 in political contributions since 1992, about two-thirds to Republicans and one-third to Democrats. Some of his more notable contributions include…$5500 to House Speaker Thom Tillis and $12,000 to Pat McCrory."
The position of the people who run the prisons was that the contracts should not be renewed. When they would not relent to Keith's pressure McCrory interceded. The implications are that McCrory was merely trying to facilitate communication between the Department of Public Safety executives and Keith. When that did not resolve the stalemate McCrory called in his political people to review the proposal. His budget officer, who has no experience in prisons or prison maintenance, recommended renewal of the contract even though such action requires involvement by the Legislature.