Saturday, September 10, 2005

Waiting on Cooper for Slush Funds

The illegal slush funds set up by the Democratic leadership here in NC have still not been investigated fully by the NC Attorney General (also a Democrat). Rep. Rhodes is calling for more:

Rep. Rhodes: Cooper is MIA on Slush Fund Investigation

The legislative session's scandal surrounding legislative leaders' use of discretionary reserve funds, also called slush funds, continues. Media reports earlier this year revealed that Speaker of the House Jim Black (D-Mecklenburg), former Co-Speaker Richard Morgan (R-Moore) and Senate President Pro-Tem Marc Basnight (D-Dare) directed tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from a special "secret fund", apparently set up to reward their political allies. In one case the Speaker of the House provided $45,000 to fund a job for a former legislator who helped him retain his position as Speaker.

Upon learning of this abuse of power and taxpayer dollars, Rep. John Rhodes (R) Mecklenburg and others called for an investigation by State Auditor Les Merritt and State Attorney General Roy Cooper. Auditor Merritt forwarded his findings to Attorney General Cooper's office at the end of June. According to Rhodes, the Attorney General has since "gone into complete lockdown mode on this abuse of taxpayer's dollars." According to a press release from Rep. Rhodes, repeated calls to the Attorney General's office over the last weeks none have been returned.

"Perhaps we should be casting a larger net over the abuses of power and perceived corruption occurring in the legislature with the taxpayer's dollars," says Rhodes. "Perhaps we need to look closer into the Attorney General's office and ask why they refuse to return phone calls and provide cover for these abuses."

"The people of North Carolina should be outraged that this type of shenanigans is going on not only in their legislature, but quite possibly expanding into the Department of Justice by the state's Attorney General," Rhodes added. "The Attorney General has had this request since March."

Rhodes is asking concerned citizens to contact the Attorney General's office and demand that he release the N.C. Pork Gate Report surrounding legislative leaders' slush funds. Rhodes encourages citizens to call 919-716-6400 and ask to speak directly with Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Rhodes ads, "When calling remember that he's not roy-alty, he's just ROY."