I was disappointed to read Rob Christensen’s Aug. 5 column in the Raleigh News & Observer. It appears he too has fallen victim to the Myth of Jim Black. When
North Carolina’s premier political reporter cannot see true corruption in the Speaker’s accepting cash in a restroom or bribing a GOP Judas (Decker) to change the outcome of an election, you have to wonder: just what counts as corruption? Apologists for Black have pushed the idea that he was really a good man who only took bribes to keep himself and the Democrat Party in power. Christensen writes “There is no evidence that he enriched himself at public expense. The money was used to stay in power.” I beg to differ. While, no evidence has yet been presented to show Black took money from public coffers, he did admit to taking $500,000 from a lobbyist for an alleged business deal. And in last Tuesday’s state sentencing hearing, Black admitted to spending on golf the $25,000 he received from chiropractors. Just how did golf keep Black in power? Indeed, how much “public” money was spent on the special provisions for Black’s quid-pro-quo benefactors? A politician for whom the ends justify the means is far more dangerous than one driven simply by self-interest. What is more dangerous to our state? A corrupt politician that steals public money and then spends it on himself or a corrupt politician that takes bribes from special interests who want laws passed for their benefit and then uses the money to alter the outcome of an election?
Jim Black had access to unlimited money and he used it. He used it to bribe Decker and change the outcome of the 2002 election. This was nothing less than a coup d’etat. The voters of North Carolina made a decision to give control of the NC House to a GOP majority. Black, his ill gotten gains and Decker altered the make up of the House. Black and the Democrats then used redistricting to further solidify their position through gerrymandering. So spare me the wailing of Jim Black’s good nature. Not only is he "fundamentally" corrupt, he corrupted North Carolina’s house of the people.