In trying to be vigilant against cronyism or even the appearance of cronyism— whether from the left or the right, liberals or conservatives, Democrats or Republicans — I made a mistake.
I was incorrect in a previous blog post regarding the N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development (NCIMED) when I wrote: “Still, it may be that Thursday was not the first time that Ms. Stith’s clients benefited from a cooperative governor. Governor McCrory’s proposed budget, released in March 2013, made only small cuts to the appropriations for the Institute for Minority Economic Development.”
Had I thoroughly researched the issue beforehand, I would have learned that Yolanda Stith did not lobby the Governor or the Office of State Budget and Management. As the original blog post pointed out, the Governor’s Recommended Budget did in fact propose a reduction in funding for NCIMED. The final enacted budget, signed by Gov. McCrory, ended all state appropriations directly to NCIMED. It was stretch to say that reducing funding for an organization implies cronyism; killing the funding was even farther from cronyism.
In talking about the event the Governor attended, I painted with too broad a brush by implying that an elected official’s appearance at an event involving organizations that lobby for state funds is tantamount to cronyism. In addition to the named groups, there were numerous hosts and sponsors, including major North Carolina corporations, at the event in question. It wasn't just hosted by clients of Capital Access, headed by Yolanda Stith. And because some twisted my post out of context, let me clarify that my reference to “rampant cronyism and possible fraud” was in regard to the Raleigh Business and Technology Center.
It was unfair to use NCIMED, and the properly disclosed activities of Yolanda Stith, to question Gov. McCrory’s efforts to change the culture of cronyism in state government.
I apologize to Mrs. Stith, Gov. McCrory and NCIMED for the errors.
It's important to put this all in context. The Legislature and the Governor have made solid progress in ending public funding for many organizations that use taxpayer dollars to bankroll a left-wing agenda — an agenda that hurts, rather than helps, the people of North Carolina. And for this, the Civitas Institute has applauded our elected representatives. As I've noted before, many of those organizations sympathetic to left-wing causes were members of Historic Thousands on Jones Street and/or Blueprint N.C.
Unlike some of the Blueprint N.C. membership organizations on the Left, I am willing to admit and correct my mistakes.
True to form, organizations under the Blueprint N.C. umbrella — specifically, N.C. Policy Watch — are trying to use my mistake to achieve their own political ends. What are those political ends? I don’t have to tell you — I’ll let Blueprint N.C. do it instead. The well-known memo distributed at one of their meetings encourages the left to “eviscerate” the elected government of North Carolina. Specifically, the Eviscerate Memo recommends the tactic of dividing the Governor, the General Assembly, and conservatives in general.
What Blueprint N.C. member N.C. Policy Watch doesn't understand is that in the broad conservative movement, various individuals, organizations, and elected officials can and often do disagree on specific policies and legislation. That’s why the real debate and real progress on how to solve our state’s problems and challenges are within the broad center-right conservative movement. The old Left, far from making “progress,” is stuck rehashing their old failed policies, while at the same time raising the decibel level with false charges of racism and turning the clock back to the Dark Ages. (And no, the Left doesn't admit that North Carolina's dark ages for true corruption were the Perdue and Easley administrations.)
But in the course of the positive debate, even conservatives, including myself, can make mistakes. For that reason, I took down the erroneous blog post, issued this correction, and apologized. When will Blueprint N.C., Progress N.C., Democracy N.C., N.C. Policy Watch, and the N.C. Justice Center issue the numerous corrections and apologies they owe the people of North Carolina?
Don’t hold your breath.