Civitas Review

Illegal Mailers in Hagan Tillis Senate Campaign?


Two mailers in the Hagan Tillis race have hit mailboxes in the last few days appear to violate federal and state laws:

1. They do not Identify who paid for the mailer as required by federal law (FEC)

2. They likely violated state lobbying laws as they are soliciting others to call a state official (Speaker Thom Tillis) to impact a legislative action. If you contact a certain number of people or spend a certain amount to do such lobbying you have to report your expenditures to the NC Secretary of State Lobbying Compliance Division.

Hagan flyer millionaires 1

Hagan Flyer Millionaires 2

There have been a lot of folks playing fast and lose with the rules this year. But hey, if your intentions or good, no foul!

Tax Foundation: NC's Tax Reform One of the Most Impressive in the Last Ten Years


The Tax Foundation today released the 2015 version of their annual State Business Tax Climate Index - which ranks the tax structure of states according to how (relatively) attractive they are to lure jobs and investment.

The index is in its 11th year, and for the first ten years NC performed terribly – ranking among the worst ten or fifteen states annually. This year, however, offers a much different outlook. According to a Foundation press release:

Washington, DC (Oct 28, 2014)—North Carolina now has the 16th best tax climate in the U.S. according to the latest edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index, released this morning by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. The Tar Heel State’s rank rose 28 places from its 44th place ranking last October, the largest improvement in a single year in the history of the report.

"This is one of the most impressive state tax reform effort we’ve seen in the last 10 years," said Tax Foundation Economist and Manager of State Projects Scott Drenkard. "While other states might reform one or two elements of their tax code, North Carolina leapt over 28 states by passing reforms on corporate, individual, and sales taxes. This level of reform—both in scope and craftsmanship—is rare."

Support for Common Core continues to erode


Gallup reported that support for Common Core among public school parents continues to slide.

According to poll results released earlier today, parents of U.S. public school students in grades K-12 are about evenly divided over the Common Core State Standards. Thirty-five percent view them negatively and 33% view them positively, while another third aren't familiar with them or don't have an opinion. This reflects a slight shift since April, when parents were slightly more positive (35%) than negative (28%).

Other poll findings include:

  • Support among public school parents for one set of national educational standards has also slipped from 73 percent in April to 65 percent.
  • A majority of Republicans (58 percent) hold a negative view of Common Core, up from 42 percent in April.
  • Democrats  continue to view Common core favorably, by about a 2 to 1 margin, 48 percent view the standards it positively, 23 percent  negatively; about the same percentages recorded in April .

Pundits like to spin the loss of support for Common Core as a result of “negative” publicity.  Be aware this poll is of public school parents. That means parents have children in schools where Common Core is not only talked about but also taught. Presumably many have firsthand experience with Math and English Common Core Standards. As such, their opinion – whether pro or con — is likely to be informed and substantiated.

Seeing Jim Crow in the DOJ


This article by Hans Von Spakovsky gives me a chance to tell you about a panel discussion taking place in Charlotte on Monday night.

Michel Martin of NPR will host the discussion on voting rights and Von Spakovsky will be on the panel along with Janai Nelson of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Pam Fessler, an NPR correspondent and Michael Dickerson, the Director of the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.

The event will be held at the McGlohon Theatre in Charlotte from 7 – 9 pm.

If you can't get to Charlotte, then Von Spakovsky's latest article "Shades of Jim Crow at the Justice Department" is the next best thing. In this article, Von Spakovsky writes that the lawsuit filed by the NC NAACP, League of Women Voters and the Department of Justice against North Carolina's voter reform law makes it "clear that these self-appointed champions of minorities have a thoroughly patronizing attitude toward black and Hispanic Americans."

He takes a long look at the witnesses produced by the NC NAACP and the U.S. Justice Department in the preliminary injunction hearing in Winston-Salem last July. Two witnesses, both professors, one from MIT and the other from the University of Wisconsin, described African-American and Hispanic voters in North Carolina as being less capable than white voters. Von Spakovsky writes,

According to them, minority voters are “less sophisticated” and don’t have the same ability as white voters to register to vote, to even find their polling place, or to be informed about the candidates and the issues in the election.

Listen very carefully to the liberal Left when they talk about why it's more difficult for minorities to vote and register to vote than white voters. They can only attempt to make a case by demeaning the people they say they are helping.

Judge Chooses North Carolina Early Voting Site


You may remember my article (Kricker Rules the State Board of Elections). The article was about the one state board of elections member who essentially made all the decisions as to which counties could reduce their one-stop voting hours for the November General Election. Maja Kricker, one of two Democrats on the state board, took advantage of the law that required a unanimous vote to change voting hours. Kricker concocted rules that all counties had to comply with in order to get her vote. And, since the SBOE vote must be unanimous, she effectively made the final decision for the five member board.

The most troubling part of this scenario was that none of the other board members had a problem with her actions. True, their opposition to her tyrannical stance would have been fruitless, but they acquiesced in a way that made her process seem appropriate. The chairman even gave weight to her requirements by naming them "the Kricker Rules."

Now there's another member of a local board that seems to be calling the shots in her County. Kathleen Campbell, in Watauga County, has been fighting to reinstate the one-stop site on the Appalachian State University campus. The three-member board voted 2 – 1 not to open the site on campus, in that the Board of Elections' one-stop site was less than a mile away.

Campbell appealed to the State Board of Elections. Superior Court Judge Don Stephens overturned the State Board's decision to uphold the Watauga County Board of Elections plan. Stephens ordered Watauga County to open the University one-stop site – 10 days before one-stop, early voting was scheduled to start in North Carolina. On October 17, the North Carolina Court of Appeals stayed Stephens' decision and then lifted the stay on October 21st.

It doesn't look like the North Carolina Supreme Court will have to dirty their hands on this case, in an emergency meeting scheduled for today at 4 p.m., the State Board of Elections reversed their decision and re-established an early voting site on the University's campus in time to open tomorrow.

Stephens seems to believe that voting is all about convenience. Stephens, in a statement said; "(It) is the responsibility of government to minimize inconvenience in voting, not maximize it."

This decision may set a new standard for voting in the United States of America – forget about the Constitution and all the equal access and one-person, one-vote blather, we can now look to convenience as a standard to measure voting decisions.

A couple of questions.

Has the State Board of Elections helped to set the precedent that will encourage judges to pick one-stop sites? And, as to one board member in a board of three or five making the decisions, should we ditch the whole idea of boards of elections, both local and state, and let the court's make all the decisions?