Jul 6, 2012
A couple of days ago I wrote about how long time legislator NC Rep Becky Carney pushed the wrong button and ended up being the key vote to override the veto of legislation that would allow fracking in NC. At the time I said I smelled a rat.
One of my colleagues here at VLTP who is brilliant with numbers and their analysis, took a look into Carney. I mean, just think about it. How difficult is it to imagine a 5 term representative with literally hundreds of votes just in this past legislative session–perhaps thousands in her career–pressing the green “yea” button instead of the red “nay” button.
A person who has been fighting fracking very hard assures me that people “in the know” understand that she made a legitimate error.
Well, I’m not so sure about Carney’s mistake. And here is why:
Our whiz looked at the career (public record) campaign financing of this 5 term Representative from Mecklenburg County which, with over 919,628 residents, is the largest county in North Carolina. From these residents, Carney received $24,670 from “individual contributors”
But these “individual contributions included funds that I would consider as being from business:
- contributions from the president of Summit Hospitality Group (headquartered in Raleigh, Wake County being the second largest county in NC)
- contributions from executives at the Speedway Motorsports Inc
- contributions form executives at Performance Racing network
- contributions from executives at Lowes Motor Speedway
That brings the total of her individual contributions down to $14,760. Not a lot of money considering her 5 years in office and the patronage she should have built up among her constituents. It works out to $12.46 per constituent per year. That does not appear very impressive.
Over the course of her career in the Legislature, Carney has received total contributions of $281,469.57. All of 5.2% coming from constituents, the rest coming from PAC and special interests. Included in the total contributions are monies from PACs with ALEC connections, with banking/finance connections, and with energy connections. Here are some of the names on the list, from those with ALEC connections:
AT&T, Bank of America, Blue Cross / Blue Shield NC, CenturyLink, Coca-Cola. CSX. Dominium Resources Inc, General Electric, GlaxoSmithKline International Paper. John Deere, Microsoft. PepsiCo. Time Warner, WalPac (aka WalMart).
The Banking industry was well represented by PACs of Citigroup, First Citizens Bank Combined, North Carolina Bank, Resident Lenders of North Carolina, Security Finance Corp of Spartanburg, Wachovia NC Employees, Wells Fargo and Co
Energy companies were represented by PACs of Dominium, Duke, Progress Energy, PSNC Energy.
And, of course, there is the PAC representing conservative stalwart the Chamber of Commerce.
95% from PACs and special interests. 5% from individual contributors.
In all honesty I have to admit that don’t know if this proportion of fundraising is normal or not. But I do know that PAC donations–especially from ALEC–come with strings attached. If this is the norm, then we need to throw out all our current legislators until comprehensive campaign finance reform is accomplished. They are all far too beholden to corporate interests. If this is not the norm, what does it say about Becky Carney?
Now, following the money, who do you really think she pushed that button for?