The Wilmington Star has a nice overview of Bob Hall, a long-time staffer at the Institute for Southern Studies, and his pioneering work on campaign finance reform -- which may well depose N.C.'s Democratic House Speaker Jim Black:

You probably don't know him, but if you've ever given big money to a North Carolina politician, Bob Hall probably knows who you are.

In fact, your name is likely among the hundreds of thousands of campaign finance records he has sorted and categorized in his computer.

And, if House Speaker Jim Black is brought down by the allegations now swirling around him, some of the credit will go to Hall, a mustachioed civic watchdog in his early 60s who has studied religion and driven a New York City taxi.

The Jim Black affair is just his latest project.

Hall, then at the Institute for Southern Studies, basically invented the modern study of campaign money and politics more than 20 years ago. Then, he mapped the donors - and their economic interests - to both Democrat Jim Hunt and Republican Jesse Helms in the 1984 U.S. Senate race.

"It was a huge undertaking, and that was in the days before the Internet," Hall said.

His investigative tools were old-fashioned city directories and the Library of Congress.

Now, as a campaign finance analyst for Democracy North Carolina, he's pulled the first threads that threaten to unravel the political world of Black, a Democrat.

It's great to see Bob getting his due.