Has anyone else been wondering why Gov Pat McCrory has been so staunch in his rock solid support of the I77 HOT lanes project?
In the face of rising public opposition and mounting evidence more than a little something is rotten in Denmark with this deal, the Governor decides he is going to stand with his boys from Cintra rather than with the people he represents. Who does that?
Back during the summer we told you the sordid tale of two recent NCGOP Executive Directors and their close ties to the Governor as well as Cintra. See here and here for those details.
Then just a couple of weeks ago we told you about the obscene (and anonymous) $4.7m donation given to the Carolina Rising PAC which benefited Thom Tillis in his campaign for US Senate. Carolina Rising was formerly operated by current and recently appointed NCGOP Executive Director, Dallas Woodhouse.
In that piece we wondered if Dallas Woodhouse could make it a "trifecta" of shady connections between the top spot at NCGOP HQ, the I77 HOT lanes project, and Cintra.
Well, the other shoe has now dropped on that one.
On Tuesday, the Raleigh News & Observer reported on tax documents put out by the people behind OpenSecrets.org showing that one of the largest Super PACs in the country, Crossroads GPS, was behind the huge check to Carolina Rising. Crossroads GPS is a PAC founded by none other than Karl Rove, advisor to former President George W Bush.
For more analysis on the Woodhouse connections in this plus other shenanigans, check out the DailyHaymaker.com stories here and here.
So where is the connection to Cintra?
When researching the pieces covering two of Woodhouse's predecessors as NCGOP Executive Director, Chris McClure and Russell Peck, one other politically connected name also popped up but the pieces did not seem to fit. That was Patrick Rhode, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Cintra, USA.
Now those pieces fit perfectly.
The first two jobs on Rhode's LinkedIn profile are Deputy Director of National Advance Operations for the Bush Cheney 2000 campaign and Special Assistant to the President of the United States, the White House.
These are positions where he would have worked closely with Karl Rove, President Bush's right hand man, and the man behind Crossroads GPS.
From the rest of Rhode's resume it seems pretty clear the most valuable skills he brings to a job are his political connections.
He has been at Cintra for going on 8 years now a time span that more than covers the entire history of the HOT lanes efforts here in NC.
Loop this all in with the storyline we told you about here covering the impact of ALEC (including Cintra's involvement) in the history of the I77 HOT lanes, and you get a pretty clear picture of what is going on.
Highly connected, very powerful people with more money to throw around than most people will see in a lifetime want this to happen.
Governor Pat is not going to stand up to them. Let's hope we can find a judge who will.