Scandals in Washington often overshadow the dozens of smaller scandals that unfold at the state level each year. In North Carolina, Democratic House Speaker Jim Black has been a magnet for dubious dealings, the most recently of which is described here by NC Policy Watch:
Revelations this week that House Speaker Jim Black slipped a provision into the state budget last session to pay for a road project in Mecklenburg County are troubling, but not surprising.
The provision called for $6 million to widen a road to encourage development of a controversial shopping center. The road was not requested by local officials and did not come out of any transportation planning process. No legislative committee debated the proposal. It was simply inserted into the 300-page budget bill at the last minute.
Black admits that he put the road project in the budget after discussions with the developer of the shopping center and a lawyer for Belk, the large retain chain based in Charlotte that will have a store at the new complex.
This is the same Democratic-controlled legislature that has relentlessly slashed money for AIDS patients, child abuse prevention, mental health programs ... on and on. But when the rubber hits the road -- or the money hits the politician -- the purse strings loosen up, and millions in taxpayer money fly out the window.