Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Payoff May be End for Black

NC House leader Jim Black has been under increasing scrutiny for various misdeeds, but the latest charge that he made campaign contributions that look suspiciously like payoffs may be the end for his leadership position in the NC Democratic party:

(RALEIGH) – Ferrell Blount, Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, issued a harsh response after learning that Speaker Jim Black gave former Rep. Michael Decker $4,000 one day before Decker drafted a check to himself and closed his campaign account.

In 2003, Rep. Michael Decker switched to the Democrat Party which erased a 61-59 Republican majority in the N.C. House. His switch directly benefited Speaker Jim Black since Black later formed a power-sharing agreement with Richard Morgan. Decker later switched back to the Republican Party and lost in the 2004 primary.

The news of Black’s contribution to Decker came to light in a press release from Joe Sinsheimer, a Democrat who has worked in state and national Democratic politics for 20 years. Sinsheimer is also the creator of the website www.JimBlackMustGo.com, which calls on Speaker Jim Black to resign. Sinsheimer notes that since Decker’s infamous party switch, Speaker Jim Black has rewarded him in several ways.

“First we learn that Jim Black got Michael Decker a sweetheart $48,000-a year state job in return for switching political parties and keeping Jim Black in power,” Sinsheimer said in the release. “Then we learn that Black helped Decker’s son, Michael Decker Jr., get a job as a ‘research associate’ in the General Assembly. Now we learn that Black is rewarding Decker with campaign cash. There seems to be no end to Jim Black’s influence peddling. I am sick of turning my head while Jim Black rewards his political allies with campaign cash.”

The $4,000 contribution to Decker on February 10, 2005 was not Black’s first. Speaker Black also gave Decker $4,000 on August 4, 2004 – two weeks after Decker lost the July 20 primary to Larry Brown.

“The Republican Party defeated Michael Decker in a primary in 2004. Now the Democrat Party should clean up its own House Caucus by defeating Jim Black,” said Blount. “North Carolina can have an honest and open government, but it will take both parties to defeat those who subvert the political process for their own gain. It is no wonder that Democrats like Joe Sinsheimer are angry with Speaker Black. This system of corruption must come to an end.”