RALEIGH – You’ve undoubtedly been hearing a lot about ‘quid pro quo’ lately, with the Democrats’ delusional impeachment farce on Capitol Hill and all, but your likely going to hear about it a lot more, a lot closer to home, and complemented by actual evidence. The legislative oversight investigation launched into the the Cooper administration’s role in the sketchy Atlantic Coast Pipeline deal has wrapped up, despite the uncooperative governor, and concludes that Cooper “improperly used the authority and influence of his office.”
The report presents documents and communications showing that Duke Energy and pipeline partners were clear in understanding the approval for the permit was to be decided directly by the governor, against protocol; that they all knew the near $58 million “voluntary” slush fund was going to be controlled exclusively by the governor and the legislature was being kept out; and, that in addition to the slush fund, Cooper was personally demanding Duke Energy sign a lucrative solar deal they were opposed to, that curiously enriched a Cooper donor who’d been writing the governor for “help.”
Compared to the Land of Make Believe on Capitol Hill these days, this report offers a lot of direct evidence implying that the governor is corrupt. Cooper, along with his counsel William McKinney and adviser Ken Eudy, are all caught in a text thread directly tying approval of the permit to the solar deal for donors.
The slush fund had already been extracted from the companies at that point, but is intent on abusing his office to squeeze the energy companies for even more for his “solar boys.”
Yet Cooper’s office, through Cooper Communications Director Sadie Weiner, is adamant there was no there were no contingencies on the permit.
Our office has been so clear on this, I don’t know how else to say it. We wanted to present a full picture of the energy landscape at the same time. Permit not contingent on fund. Fund not contingent on solar settlement. etc. #ncpol #ncga
— Sadie Weiner (@sadieweiner) November 20, 2019
Hmmmm. Well, then what is this email from senior Cooper adviser Ken Eudy to Sadie Weiner laying out a timeline for locking down solar deals BEFORE final approval, including messaging meetings to get Democrats all the same talking points, and even cautioning that the governor is worried about how word of the slush fund and solar deals “will get out”?
The tens of millions in that slush fund were going to be dispersed by the governor to a frenzy of economic developers doing lucrative deals with solar companies and other developers while dressing it all in environmental mitigation clothing like “carbon-offsetting measures.” In the end though, having $58 million to shower on cronies, donors, and voters in eastern North Carolina, with no legislative oversight, all the while getting key political allies sweetheart deals, would be quite a political benefit.
Of the report, Cooper’s mouthpiece Ford Porter said:
“Legislative Republicans are mired in deep ethical problems and they’ve lied to the public, the courts and their own colleagues and you can’t trust a word they say about anything, much less the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Governor Cooper has worked to bring economic prosperity to rural North Carolina, and these fake Republican attacks aren’t backed up by facts or reality.”
The texts and emails seem to suggest otherwise. They suggest Governor Cooper has worked to secure only crony deals in eastern North Carolina, by abusing the influence of his office, that in the end would have done little to alleviate the impediments to prosperity represented by Cooper’s own policies. Instead they would have lined some developer pockets, pacified some solar goons, and provide endless ribbons for Cooper to cut.
Porter, spinning Cooper as a boy scout and the Republicans as lunatics, points out that the report says the governor did not benefit. Well, Porter is right, the governor did not benefit…BECAUSE HE GOT CAUGHT. The slush fund MOU was exposed, the legislature asserted its proper authority, and the scheme was stopped, and the investigations began; just because they weren’t able to follow through doesn’t mean they did nothing wrong.
Can you imagine, “Excuse me judge, while I did take those hostages to gain access to the bank vault, I did not benefit from it because the police arrived too soon. I plead not guilty.”
This is Quid Pro Quo Cooper’s defense. You buying it?