Joint Democratic/Republican Statement About Illegal Campaign Mailing

This is being released to the press today:

Jim White, Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party and Bill Knight, Chair of the Orange County Republican Party issued the following joint statement today:

Last week a mailing was sent to residents of Chapel Hill that was supposedly from an organization calling itself “CHC PAC.” There is apparently no such political action committee registered with the Orange County Board of Elections and no contact information or mailing address on the postcard. The postcard is designed to look like a mailer supporting mayoral candidate Mark Kleinschmidt, and contains attacks on mayoral candidate Matt Czajkowski.

Chancellor puts investment into blind trust

I'm not even sure if this is a story, but it seemed interesting to me. It seems that UNC's new chancellor Holden Thorp was a partner with an RTP-based venture capital business that supports biotech start-ups.  The chancellor had planned to continue his role there, but his brother Clay Thorp (who went to UNC with me) is the general partner there and felt it would be best to cut official ties.

Thorp is no longer a venture partner at Durham’s Hatteras Venture Partners, says his brother, Hatteras general partner Clay Thorp. And Holden Thorp’s equity stake in Hatteras has been put into a blind trust.

Clay Thorp says the decision was made as Holden Thorp took over the top spot at UNC on July 1.

“We decided mutually that it was best for him to have no formal role,” Clay Thorp says, “and to avoid any confusion.”

Holden and Clay Thorp still have informal discussions about science and business, Clay Thorp says. But that’s as far as Holden Thorp’s relationship with Hatteras goes.

Former School Board member convicted

Former Orange County School Board Member Dennis Whitling is now on probation and owes $106,138.24 in penalties after being convicted of embezzling funds from a former employer. His jail sentence was suspended but he'll also have to do at least 100 hours of community service.

Push poll anyone?

[Cross-posting a good story about push-polling on the Transfer Tax (which the commissioners discuss tonight)at BlueNC by Greg Flynn.]

Orange County residents have been on the receiving end of dubious push poll telephone calls recently, described by one recipient as:

...what may very well be the most egregious violation of research ethics I have every experienced. The questions were all about transfer tax in Orange County and it was sleazy. The company was named TDM Research in Birmingham

TDM Research, associated with Democratic political consulting firm The Tyson Organization, whose clients include Bob Etheridge, has been responsible for other dubious push polls in Florida and Virginia in the past.

Is Every Crime A Life Sentence? Is the Debt to Society Ever Paid?

Today, in a news report by WRAL's Cullen Browder, posted on, House Speaker Joe Hackney was "linked" to convicted felon Bladen County business man Ron Taylor by the fact that his name appeared below Taylor's on an invitation to a political fundraiser. Taylor was convicted in 1982 of accepting a bribe while serving in the statehouse and also pleaded guilty of plotting to setting a rival's tobacco warehouse on fire.

Chris Fitzsimon, executive director of government watchdog group NC Policy Watch, was quoted as saying "It's a little troubling that, in this era of public mistrust of government and all the ethics scandals, that our leaders wouldn't be a little more careful about where their name is used."

Speaker Hackney says he plans to uphold his promise and attend the fundraiser.



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