A highlight of the North Carolina lawmakers’ Florida trip was a $500 luncheon with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at the Biltmore Hotel, a 150-acre tropical resort in Coral Gables, Fla.
Bush is a major figure in the conservative education reform movement, and now heads the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a think-tank seeking to overhaul the country’s educational systems through policies like ending teacher tenure, expanding the use of charter schools and school vouchers, and the increased use of virtual education.
The N.C. lawmakers also heard from Florida legislators who supported the tax credit program and businesses that benefited from it. They also went to a private school in Miami that enrolls students through the scholarship program.NC ethics laws bans gifts to lawmakers, including trips to fancy resorts in Florida if the host is pushing an agenda, and we do believe an agenda was being pushed up Sen. Soucek's willing snout in Florida, without much resistance.
Soucek got a lot more out of the trip besides some shrimp cocktail for lunch. After he returned from junketing, he got a nice check for $2,000 from the Partners for Educational Freedom, a political-action committee associated with Parents for Educational Freedom.
And that's what they call pay-to-play, folks. Soucek perhaps calls it manna from heaven. By any name, it's influence-buying.