Tuesday, March 06, 2018

NC House Speaker Tim Moore Has a New Scandal

The headline above is not the only point of what follows. A Democrat filed against Speaker of the House Tim Moore in the NC House District 111. That Democrat so far is all but invisible. Too bad, with such a spectacle of insider corruption erupting on the incumbent.

First, the Newest Accusation Against Tim Moore
Tim Moore's apparent and alleged use of his official position to further his own financial gain is all over the morning papers in Raleigh. It doesn't look good. Moore, of course, is blaming the media and "liberals" out to get him. Here's a summary of the new scandal (hattip Thomas Mills):

Tim Moore as college student.
The Daily Tar Heel
The complaint has to do with property in Siler City that Moore and some business partners bought in 2013. According to the AP, “The complaint accuses Moore of improperly intervening with [the Dept. of Environmental Quality] DEQ so a limited liability company he co-owned could avoid fines related to underground fuel storage tanks where the former Townsend poultry plant stood.” Moore and his partners bought the property for $85,000 in 2013 and sold it three years later for $550,000. All of this during the administration of Pat McCrory, and his DEQ chief --  Donald van der Vaart, "who is now under consideration for a top environmental post in the Trump administration. He frequently said while leading DEQ that he wanted the department to be more 'customer-friendly' to businesses it interacted with."

If this complaint against Moore turns out to have merit, wrong-doing by high DEQ officials under van der Vaart would have included deliberately sending misleading emails to create a falsified papertrail to cover their tracks of special dealing for Tim Moore. That's clear in the long NandO piece this morning.

Second, This Is Not Tim Moore's First Rodeo
In August 2015, it came to light that Tim Moore had been appointed Cleveland County Attorney by a Board of Commissioners led by Tim Moore's own cousin, a partial sinecure worth $25,000 per annum --  $25k, whether he did a lick of actual work or not. Because as Speaker of the House, Tim Moore would have to be in Raleigh for sometimes months on end, so any legal business for Cleveland County would have to be handled by other lawyers paid their fair market rate. You know what a sinecure is, right?

But presumably Cleveland County could reap the benefits in hard cash, as indeed they did when Moore funneled millions in support and grants to projects in his home county. Moore became an accomplished pork-barreller.

Late in 2015, WBTV investigative reporter Nick Ochsner outed Moore for flagrantly ignoring campaign finance reporting rules, and by January of 2016 Ochsner was hot on Moore's trail for paying campaign rent to himself. ("Speaker Tim Moore: Big Spender But Not So Great at Reporting It")

Tim Moore is naturally interested in Tim Moore above everything else, but sometimes unnaturally (or unethically) he acts on that impulse, and uses his official position as leverage. He went to Raleigh as a kind of po' boy, but look at him now. Thomas Mills quotes a person from Cleveland County who said, “Tim left for Raleigh driving a beat up Honda and he’s come back driving a Maserati.”

Now May We See the Democrat, Please?
Days ago I saw that one David Brinkley, a Democrat, had filed on the last day of filing, February 28, to oppose Tim Moore in November. Immediately Googling, I found pages of memorials to NBC newscaster David Brinkley, dead in 2003, and one link to "Who Filed in Cleveland County" in the Shelby Star, which gave me this, sum total: "A Democratic candidate has also filed to run for the N.C. House of Representatives District 111 seat. David C. Brinkley will face incumbent Republican and Speaker of the House Tim Moore during the November election."

Otherwise, no information on who David Brinkley is and what he does and what he's done in the past or what he thinks about important stuff today, and a "Hey, vote for me" campaign presence. Nothing like that at all. No website, no Twitter account, no nuttin'. (I did find his Facebook page eventually, after the following detours into an otherwise meager biography:

David Brinkley was founder of Brinkley Financial Group in Kings Mountain, a town in Cleveland County. Brinkley earned a Batchelor of Science in Education at Western Carolina, tried teaching and soon discovered he couldn't make a living for a growing family on a teacher's salary, so he entered the financial services industry with the Big Boys, spent a couple of years learning, and then came back to Cleveland County and founded Diversified Business Concepts, which became Brinkley Financial in 2006 -- David C. Brinkley Founder and President. It's an investment counseling and financial management company, and he appears to have done well.

Brinkley and his wife Marie are deeply embedded in the community. They're generous donors to local causes, especially educational enhancement and local high school athletics. He is actively involved in Central United Methodist Church of Kings Mountain serving as chairman of the Endowment Fund and Finance Committee. He is also a member of the Administrative Council for Central United Methodist Church, serves on the Advisory Board of the Life Enrichment Center, and is a charter member and president of the Kings Mountain Touchdown Club. He served on the Board of Trustees at Gardner-Webb University.

On his Facebook page watch the video of his first public speaking appearance on the street outside the Board of Elections on filing day, to a small crowd of supporters. I got a very different impression of him, and a welcome one. He's far from a politician, but he seems genuine and honest. He's got some political fire in him: "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired," he declared to applause. He came to Cleveland County, he said, as a coach and teacher in 1971 to do what he loved, but the poor salary made him take a leap into the business world, and now the thing he's sickest and tiredest of is the way we continue to treat our school teachers and drive them out of teaching. And
treat our law enforcement officers and other public servants who enrich the general society while barely scraping by themselves. Increase their pay now is David Brinkley's number one issue.

David Brinkley on filing day,
wearing the purple
But he also wore purple for the occasion. "Neither blue nor red," as he pointed to his sweater vest. He wanted people to notice that. Meaning, he's no partisan Democrat, and won't fight like a partisan: "I won't get in the gutter," sez he, by which we assume he harbors a negative stereotype of campaigners and therefore probably won't be talked into attacking Tim Moore's record of self-dealing. Doesn't want to go negative. But that way -- the purple way -- takes you under the bus that just rolled over your torso.

Brinkley should make an issue of the corruption of power. Voters don't like public corruption, and given an option of an upstanding pillar of the community like David Brinkley, they might just decide to notice the truth for once about an elected official who's so clearly in it for himself while all sorts of other people drown.

A Democrat's winning this race -- maybe it's impossible. Maybe even if Brinkley drew sharp comparisons between himself and Moore, maybe it wouldn't move the needle. But maybe it would. I'd advise, in my capacity as Senior Campaign Advisor, that Brinkley raise the money to make Tim Moore's self-enrichment a campaign theme to all the voters in the 111th House District.

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