The headline on the Under the Dome item is just right: “Civitas: Follow the money”
That’s a journalistic mantra from the Watergate era. If you figure out what happened with the money, you’ll know about everything else.
For Civitas is asking the State Board of Elections to investigate the funding of a settlement of a sexual harassment case.
First of all, at the very least, $330,000 of North Carolinians’ money is given to the North Carolina Democratic Party every year.
Doesn’t matter if it’s “voluntary.” It’s money that otherwise would go to schools or prisons or whatever.
Also, the check-off makes it easier to grab money from people. They’re filling out their tax returns, and likely are dazed and depressed. So they check off the box.
If check-offs are no big deal, then get rid of them, and let the parties raise the money themselves. They don’t want that, however, for it’s harder to get the money, and they have to make the effort themselves.
Back to the main point. It’s the public’s money. We have a right to know where it goes.
Democrats agree, by the way. The same Dome column leads with this news:
“A three-judge panel hearing a redistricting lawsuit has ruled that private lawyers whom legislative Republicans paid with taxpayer money must make their redistricting documents public. Lawyers for Democrats and nonprofits suing over the redistricting plans sought documents used to prepare the redistricting maps. The judges ruled Friday that the documents private lawyers produced are public record.”
So for once Democrats and Civitas are in accord: Those using public money are accountable to the public.
I can see an objection looming ahead, so let’s deal with it. In such a situation, sometimes the claim is made, “Well, it all goes into the same fund, so we can’t tell you where the taxpayers’ money went.”
OK. So tell us where all the money went. You dump the taxpayers’ money into one fund, then that whole fund must be opened to the public.
Let’s go on to the bigger scandal: Why oh why is taxpayers’ money going to political parties? They should be the last places to get public funding.
It’s bad enough that taxpayer money goes to fund Leon Panetta’s jet flights home, or Solyndra, or wild GSA parties in Las Vegas, or carousing by Secret Service agents in Colombia. The waste and abuse of tax money has become a state and national disgrace.
But the last things that should get taxpayers’ money are the political parties. There’s no way a Republican’s taxes should go, in any form whatsoever, to Democrats. The same holds true, of course, for taking a Democrats’s money and funneling it to the Republicans.