Putting their money where the power is


It’s getting more expensive for special interest groups to buy the legislature. Or as a spokesman for Duke Energy tactfully put it, “to make sure their voice is heard.”

In 2002, that company’s political action committee contributed $173,100 to legislative candidates who could be expected to vote the right way. Four years later, Duke company felt compelled to contribute $227,5000. Progress Energy’s contributions went from $142,000 to $242,750.

Realtors and home builders together went from $443,150 in 2002 to $900,065 in 2006. (And you wondered why the Honorables won’t let most local governments charge development fees that could help pay for schools and other costs of growth.)

Organized medicine was generous, as usual, giving $377,973, and hospitals chipped in $227,750. Among other things, the docs and hospital administrators might want more protection from malpractice suits.

Which brings up the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers. Its PAC gave aspiring Honorables $276,500.

Then there’s the relatively new PAC made up of UNC-Chapel Hill alumni, which wants favors for UNC-Chapel Hill. It came in number two, offering $425,000 to legislators who bleed Carolina blue.

In the list of top 10 PAC contributors compiled by Democracy North Carolina, you will not find any organizations representing workers, the elderly, teachers, consumers, or the mentally ill. And, as usual, these cheapskates are likely to get what they paid for.
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