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Hahn murder investigation focuses on political money

Detectives investigating the April slaying of political fundraiser Jamie Kirk Hahn got the bank records of suspect Jonathan Broyhill for the year leading up to the day Hahn, 29, was fatally stabbed and her husband was injured at their home because they suspected Broyhill of embezzling, a search warrant shows.

Broyhill is charged with murdering Hahn, who died two days after the April 22 attack. Broyhill worked at Sky Blue Strategies, Hahn’s political consulting firm and was the best man at her 2009 wedding to Nation Hahn. “During the course of the investigation, it was learned that Jonathan Broyhill was suspected of embezzlement from the victims’ business,” Detective Z.A. Morse told a magistrate in asking for the warrant for the Wells Fargo account information. Get more details here.

Morning Memo: Gift ban repeal dead, Hahn investigation seeks motive

TILLIS SAYS LOBBYIST GIFT BAN WILL REMAIN INTACT: House Speaker Thom Tillis took to Twitter this week to declare Republican Robert Brawley's bill to lift the ban on lobbyists giving lawmakers gifts is dead. "Benny, does the fact that the bill is dead give you any idea?" @thomtillis wrote. The speaker's office confirmed the 10:10 p.m. Tuesday tweet was legit. Tillis addressed the response to Benjamin Ray, an operative at the N.C. Democratic Party pushing Tillis on the issue and tying it to his office's controversial past with lobbyists and the fact the bill came from one of his committee chairman.

MOTIVE FOR JAMIE HAHN'S STABBING TURNS TO CAMPAIGN MONEY: As the Triangle mourned slain political strategist Jamie Hahn on Wednesday, attention turned to whether the man who police say stabbed her had made questionable campaign finance reports while working for Hahn’s firm. More on the story below.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- click below for much, much more from a busy day in N.C. politics. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. ***

Morning Memo: The private first lady, and inaugural party time begins

MUST READ: First Lady Ann McCrory shuns the public spotlight. From the story: Ann McCrory hasn’t fully embraced McCrory's political career. Nor has she opposed it. Now, after her husband’s three city council terms, seven terms as mayor and two tries at the governor’s office, she has moved into a late 19th century mansion at the center of government for a state of more than 9 million people. There, the demands on her time – and the questions about her own life and marriage – will immeasurably grow. However, those who know the new first lady say there are no guarantees that her public role will grow right along with them.

***Welcome to the Dome Morning Memo, a digest of the day's political news and other tidbits from the statehouse arena. Click below for more***

While Reeves and Randall battle, Miller raises cash

While Republicans Bernie Reeves and Bill Randall will be working the polls on election day, Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Brad Miller will be raking in the campaign contributions on Capitol Hill.

Miller, the 13th district congressman, has scheduled a fundraising lunch for Tuesday at the National Democratic Club Townhouse, Rob Christensen reports. The ticket price is between between $500 and $2,000 per person.

That's the same day that Reeves and Randall face each other in a rough GOP primary runoff. Miller will almost certainly start his race against his Republican opponent with a substantial money advantage.

Reeves has raised $244,081 and Randall has raised $70,845. But as of June 2nd, Reeves had only $27,843 cash on hand and $44,907 in debts and Randall had $3,995 cash on hand and $34,624 in debts according to Federal Election Commission reports.

Miller, meanwhile has raised $478,523 and had $289,462 on hand with $14,006 in debts, as of April 14th, according to the FEC.

Dome Memo: Holiday wish list

ANYTHING WILL DO: Gov. Bev Perdue had to amend her campaign finance reports because of more undisclosed flights, a fact Republicans compared to the transgressions of embattled former Gov. Mike Easley. Later in the week, Perdue had a spokeswoman explain that Perdue stayed completely out of recruiting a business that was represented by her son. And her approval rating dipped back into the 20s. Perdue may want to add "good news" to her Christmas list.

JUST WHAT WE WANTED: Campaigns for Congress got livelier this week when Renee Ellmers, a registered nurse and political newcomer, entered the Republican primary to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge of Lillington. Bernie Reeves, a Raleigh publisher known for his brash conservative commentary, is considering challenging U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, a Raleigh Democrat. Other candidates in other races lined up key consultants. Dome may get what we want for Christmas: lively political campaigns.

THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING: A trust with apparent ties to former presidential candidate John Edwards purchased a Charlotte-area house, which set off speculation and reports that Edwards was trying to find a home for Rielle Hunter. Meanwhile, Edwards tops the list of disappointing public figures in a new poll. If anyone is looking for last-minute gift ideas for Edwards, he does not want any copies of former aide Andrew Young's tell-all book. Maybe just a gift card.

IN OTHER NEWS: U.S. Rep. David Price worries about the growing federal deficit. Easley has hired famed criminal defense attorney Joeseph B. Cheshire V. The battle continues over whether the state has to free a group of inmates serving life sentences.

Miller has $148,000

U.S. Rep. Brad Miller has $148,348 in his campaign account.

Miller, a Raleigh Democrat, has raised $235,475 since 2007, according to federal campaign finance records. Miller raised $122,987 from individual contributions and $109,700 from political action committees. 

Notable contributors include Robert Page of Greensboro, president of Replacements, Ltd. ($2,400); Raleigh lawyer John T. Orcutt ($2,400) and the trades union United Association ($5,000).

Republican William Randall II has not reported raising any money.

Unions put millions into health debate

* Labor unions trying to shape the nation's health-reform debate have poured millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of North Carolina lawmakers in recent years.

Since 2003, unions have spent $3.4 million to elect allies from the Tar Heel state to the U.S. House and Senate. Nearly all of it has gone to Democrats.

North Carolina, a right-to-work state, has the second-lowest union representation and the lowest union membership rate in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

But key voting blocs, including state workers and many service workers, are represented by labor groups such as the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU. Labor groups have organized rallies, town hall meetings, phone banks and advertising in support of health-care reform.

Of the state's 13 House members, Democrat Brad Miller of Raleigh received the most union money — $588,000. (N&O)

* North Carolina community colleges leaders have drawn up a new policy that would allow illegal immigrants into the two-year colleges.

The state Board of Community Colleges' policy committee on Thursday drafted rules that would admit undocumented immigrants if they graduated from a U.S. high school. The students would have to pay out-of-state tuition rates and could not take a seat from students who are legal residents. (AP)

Dems avoiding health care town halls

* The town hall forum, long a hallmark of the August congressional recess, is disappearing this year as the partisan lines harden and tempers flare over the health care debate.

Democratic Rep. Brad Miller of Raleigh received a death threat from a constituent, his staff said.

The caller was angry that Miller wasn't holding a town hall meeting.

Two congressmen, Democrats Heath Shuler of Bryson City and Larry Kissell of Biscoe, are phoning it in, holding a town hall meeting from the safe distance of a teleconference. Most other U.S. House members aren't even going that far.

Conservative critics of President Barack Obama's plan for health care reform are demanding town hall forums across the country, because they want to give members of Congress — particularly Democrats who support the president — an earful of why they think it is a bad idea. Several town halls in other states have become instant YouTube classics, with shouting, angry mobs humiliating congressmen. For the Democrats, it smells like a set-up by conservative advocacy groups.

"They were not interested in having a discussion," said Democratic Rep. Mel Watt of Charlotte, referring to what he called orchestrated efforts to push for a town hall meeting. "They were interested in having a town meeting they're going to disrupt." (N&O)

* A slate of government reform bills that gained attention amid controversies surrounding former Gov. Mike Easley will not be taken up as lawmakers push to end this year's work. That's according to a leading senator whose committee is handling the bills.

Sen. Martin Nesbitt, a Democrat from Asheville, and other legislators said there is support to make changes. But they said there is not enough time to finish them before legislators adjourn for this year.

"We'll do them next year," Nesbitt said. "There is no attempt to kill them by omission." (N&O)

 

Shuler, Foxx in lead in money race

If money is the mother’s milk of politics, then Congressmen Health Shuler, a Democrat, and Virginia Foxx, a Republican, are the two members of the Tar Heel delegation who are well provisioned at the moment.

Both have over $1 million in their campaign war chests as of June 30, according to campaign reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission, Rob Christensen reports.

Shuler, a Bryson City Democrat whose name had been bandied about at one time as a potential U.S. Senate candidate, had $1.1 million in his campaign committee. Foxx, a Republican from Banner Elk had $1,006,121.

The middle weights in campaign war chests were Democrat Bob Etheridge of Lillington ($895,137), Democrat Mike McIntyre of Lumberton ($696,540), Republican Howard Coble of Greensboro ($505,759), Democrat David Price of Chapel Hill ($271,619), Democrat G.K. Butterfield ($225,204), Democrat Larry Kissell of Bisco ($214,051) and Republican Sue Myrick of Charlotte ($160,751).

The light wallet crowd included Democrat Mel Watt of Charlotte ($123,767) Republican Patrick McHenry of Cherryville ($119,270), Republican Walter Jones of Farmville ($85,424) and Democrat Brad Miller of Raleigh ($70,654).

As far as fundraising during the past three months, the big three are Etheridge ($326,561), Kissell ($322,631) and Shuler ($314,753).

Money flows to Etheridge

Among Triangle Congressmen, Rep. Bob Etheridge has the deepest pockets.

Etheridge, a Democrat from Lillington, has $895,137 on hand, according to the latest report filed with the Federal Election Commission. Etheridge had raised $326,561 during the first six months of the year, including $212,164 from political committees, reports Rob Christensen.

Among Etheridge’s major donors are the International Union of Operating Engineers, Smithfield Foods, the trial lawyers, Farm Credit association, Wyrick Robbins Yates law firm, McGuire Wood law firm, Progress Energy, beer wholesalers, Committee for Rural Electrification, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Committee for the Advancement of Southeast Cotton, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers, and Becton Dickenson.

Rep. Brad Miller, a Democrat from Raleigh, reported having $70,654 on hand. During the past six months he raised $119,704 including $62,700 from PACs. Among his larger donors was the American Association for Justice, Farm Credit Association, the United Auto Workers, United Association (building tradesmen) Raytheon Corp, National Community Pharmacists and the Airline Pilots.

Rep. David Price, a Democrat from Chapel Hill, reported having $271,619 on hand. He reported raising $59,631 during the first months including $52,000 from PACs. Those included United Parcel, John Deere, Airline Pilots Association, the trial lawyers, Honeywell International, Motorola, Deloitte & Touche and CSX Transportation.

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