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Watching the lottery trial is like being invited to go behind the curtain and see how legislative politics really works in North Carolina.

Democratic House Speaker Jim Black has said for months he came up with Kevin Geddings’ appointment to the Lottery Commission, more or less on his own.

Now, we learn from the prosecutors Geddings’ selection was decided at a dinner with Black, the Vice President of lottery vender and a lobbyist. When Black testified he did not recall any discussion of the lottery at the dinner. “I probably would not remember,” Black said, “because when I’ve finished a very busy day I’m probably brain-dead and winding down for the day.”

Mac McCorkle, Governor Easley’s chief political advisor said months ago he didn’t know anything about the radio ad campaign that targeted three Republican Senators who opposed the lottery – until the ads ran.

A former Easley aide who worked with McCorkle on the ads said McCorkle “made the contacts that resulted in the $38,000 ad campaign.” And that he recommended Geddings to produce the ads. (News and Observer; 9-28-06).

Both the Governor’s aide, Scott Anderson, and McCorkle knew of Geddings’ ties to lottery venders six months before his appointment. McCorkle said months ago he had opposed Geddings’ appointment ‘behind the scenes.’ But now we know his ‘opposition’ didn’t come until months later.

Governor Easley says he doesn’t know anything about the ads McCorkle orchestrated. The press asked McCorkle about that. McCorkle’s lawyer said he “has a policy of not discussing with the press any conversations with the Governor.” That’s what’s called a stone wall.

This is ‘backstage politics’ in North Carolina. Speaker Black says he dreamed up Geddings’ appointment on his own – then the prosecutor says it was decided at dinner with a Scientific Games lobbyist. Mac McCorkle says he didn’t know about the ads – then a witness testifies McCorkle orchestrated the ads. The Governor says he didn’t know about the ads either – and McCorkle says he does not discuss what he tells the governor.

My children used to play a game where they would draw a card and read a statement – like I Love Lucy premiered in 1952 – and everyone would guess whether it was true or not.

This beats the heck out of that.

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