Tuesday, March 22, 2005

N.C. State Auditor to Look at Slush Fund

The Republican sharks are circling Democratic House Speaker Jim Black, as everyone knew they would. And the new Republican state auditor, Les Merrit, says he'll conduct an inquiry into the $10 million secret fund that Black controlled. Not an audit, Merrit is quick to add, but an inquiry ... that could lead to an audit.

Black and his allies are hanging tough with the narrative that they did nothing wrong, and perhaps they didn't. Every story we've seen on this emphasizes that the money went to non-profits or to "governmental agencies that had policies to protect against conflicts of interest."

But still.

Parking $10 million of state funds in three agency budgets that are then exclusively controlled by Speaker Black (and former co-speaker Richard Morgan), who gives out the money to political allies to, in turn, make unasked-for grants to "worthy" programs in their house districts.... Wouldn't we be outraged if the Republicans were caught doing the same thing?

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