RALEIGH – It’s funny how a lot of North Carolina lawmakers seem to raise and spend a lot of campaign money in years when they don’t have an election, and haven’t had a challenger in a few cycles. It’s almost as if the special interest groups that enable all the jet-setting and fine dining expect something in return.
The poster boy for such profligate spending of campaign funds in off years is Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincolnton) and the Daily Haymaker has a good piece highlighting how good it is to be Jason Saine:
“Only in America — specifically North Carolina and the NCGOP — can a guy go from broke and unemployed to making major financial decisions for the future of the state and getting showered with cash. It’s good to be Jason Saine.
This tubby little parasite has had no opposition for the last two campaign cycles. Yet, he’s amassed and spent six figures a year (mostly on himself).
Folks have found all kinds of omissions and errors in his reports. You would hope the chairman of the FINANCE committee would do better with tracking the dollars and cents.”
You would think, but having an office on Jones Street has a way of getting one fond of spending other people’s money indiscriminately. For 2017, a year that featured no elections in the General Assembly, Saine sure did rack up a lot of air miles and fancy dinners billed to his campaign.
“There is also a lot of travel and eating-out expense at locations around the country. There was the airfare charged to the campaign in July, August, October and November. (Is the 97th so big you need to fly across it?)
There was the hotel stay in Charleston, SC in October. There were the hotel stays in northern Virginia in September and October. There was the Hyatt Regency in Chicago in July.
And the Honorable Mr. Saine has been quite judicious in sampling the delicacies of many of our 50 states. In December, there was pizza in Nashville, TN. There was Pappasito’s Cantina in Dallas, TX in November.
There was the August meal at Boston, MA’s trendy Oak+Rowan.”
As one would expect, campaign finance laws dictate that funds raised for electing a political candidate are supposed to be spent on…electing the political candidate, or reaching out to constituents in the relevant district.
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We could be wrong, but eating steak in Chicago, or jetting to Dallas don’t really qualify for such treatment. Not to mention it is all happening in a year with no election.
As Chairmen of the House Finance committee, plenty of lobbyists have all the incentive to ingratiate Saine and bankroll his highfalutin lifestyle in exchange for some favorable treatment in the committee room.
If you thought the only Swamp was in Washington, D.C., this should convince you that Jones Street can be pretty darn Swampy itself.
Read more about Saine’s spending ways here.