North Carolina's History of Political Corruption -

North Carolina's History of Political Corruption

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Charlotte, N.C. (WJZY) -- Charlotte's reputation of having squeaky clean politics came crashing down yesterday, but is political corruption all that new in the South?

Caroline Fountain spoke with political science professor Eric Heberlig at UNC Charlotte. He says corruption is becoming more and more common in North Carolina. Question is whether or not it's becoming a trend for the future.

Patrick Cannon is the forth politician within the past decade to face corruption charges in North Carolina.

State officials Jim Black - former speaker of the House from Mecklenburg County, former governor Mike Easley, Meg Scott Phipps - former secretary of agriculture all went down - some even facing prison - due to some form of corruption.

The case of Easley was basically that donors were giving him access to houses, helicopters, airplanes, special gifts because he was governor or attorney general at the time. He wasn't reporting them as income or campaign donations.

The case of Jim Black, he was trying to raise all this money to help the democrats hold a majority of the general assembly. He was essentially taking money from organized interest groups to get favorable hearings in the legislature.

What makes Patrick Cannon's case so outrageous is that he's accused of being the first mayor to bring shady politics into Charlotte.

Charlotte doesn't have any examples of mayors or members of city council being charged with bribery or corruption. That's why this is such a big story because this is so out of the norm of what Charlotte folks expect of their public officials.

Could we be seeing more of this in the future?

The professor says he doesn't know if it's a trend. What's changed is the FBI putting more emphasis, new techniques, to uncover misbehavior of public officials.

Either way, sounds like we could be seeing more of this in the Tar Heel state.

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