RALEIGH – While he is not on the ballot this time around, Gov. Roy Cooper is making political moves. Just earlier this week he announced the creation of an inter-agency bureaucracy to tackle climate change by cutting emissions by 40 percent in a direct attack on traditional energy providers (and consumers) across the state and a hat tip to the environmentalist wackos in his base.
It was a clever move by Gov. Ken Eudy – scratch that – Gov. Roy Cooper. It sets up a false dichotomy in which Cooper and Democrats present themselves as champions of the environment and heroes out to safe the earth, while pointing fingers at Republicans (who will likely, hopefully, oppose the Big Government climate change hustle) as enemies of clean air, clean water, and humanity itself leading into the 2020 elections.
But it’s hardly the first such purely political set up Eudy…errr…Cooper has constructed. While the Left-leaning media is quick to move on from the scandal, it wasn’t long ago that Cooper was under fire for allegedly approving the Atlantic Coast Pipeline only after arranging for a nearly $58 million political slush fund financed by the pipeline’s backers. Corruption 101.
The stated plan was to spend the slush fund on ‘environmental mitigation’ and ‘economic development’ in the counties the pipeline traversed, but in actuality the money would be spread around those counties to enrich cronies and engender political loyalty to Cooper.
However, their cover was blown, and about a week after the election is over, a legislative committee is going to shine a big ol’ spotlight on this crony political ploy.
From Carolina Journal:
From the time it was announced in January, the agreement between Gov. Roy Cooper and the companies building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline invited questions about its constitutionality, legality, and practicality. North Carolinians are poised to get answers when work by a subcommittee of the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations gets under way Nov. 14.
At issue is the $58 million Memorandum of Understanding announced by Cooper hours after the Department of Environmental Quality provided certification for work on the pipeline to continue on its route through eastern North Carolina. The permit was announced by DEQ on Jan. 26 and the MOU had been agreed to by both parties only the day before, raising questions of timing and pay-to-play. Eyebrows were raised further when it was revealed the agreement is between the ACP partners and Cooper himself, not the State of North Carolina.
The constitutional question over who controls the money was dealt with swiftly. Under our constitution, only the legislature can appropriate funds that come to the state. By directing the $58 million directly to an escrow account controlled by him, Cooper attempted to circumvent the constitution. Shortly after the MOU was announced, the General Assembly passed legislation redirecting the funds to the state treasury.
That leaves open the issue about the timing of the MOU and the permit. We don’t yet have enough information to draw a firm conclusion.”
Cooper swears up and down that the permit approval was not contingent upon a big fat slush fund for himself and Democrats to dole out leading up to 2020 elections, but, considering what we know about the timing, that doesn’t pass the smell test.
Another thing that raises some skeptical eyebrows is the notion that, if this was a pay to play with political benefits in mind, Cooper thought of the scheme himself. Watching Cooper give speeches over the last two years, do you think he’s capable of such high level strategy? Probably not, but those close to him, like his chief of staff Ken Eudy, have a reputation for being quite clever, if not conniving, when it comes to such political games.
It will be interesting to see what this committee uncovers in the coming weeks about this scandal, and what roles were played by Cooper himself, as well as those that are rumored to really call the political shots around the governor’s office.
Read more about the Cooper Slush Fund timeline here.