Under the Dome

Dome: Asheville tea party raffling off semi-automatic rifle

Staff writersDecember 18, 2012 

The Asheville tea party, on the heels of its “Machine Gun Social” in September, is raffling off an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

“The patriotic Americans who brought you the ‘Machine Gun Social’ are pleased to announce the introduction to their brand new fund raiser – the ‘Great Gun Giveway,’ ” says the group’s website.

A chance to win the weapon, advertised on the website as valued at more than $1,500, is going for $20.

A handgun is also included in the fundraiser – a Keltee PMR-30 .22 Magnum pistol with a retail value of $415. That takes a $10 donation to enter.

The raffles benefit the Asheville Tea Party PAC, which raised about $15,000 through the end of October, according to its most recent state report. The PAC contributed $100 to John Tedesco’s failed campaign for state superintendent of schools, and $200 to Dan Forest’s successful run for lieutenant governor.

The tea party’s “I-Caucus” also endorsed state Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby and Chris Dillon in his successful campaign for state Court of Appeals. The PAC also spent about $800 at P.F. Custom Guns in Asheville for “fundraiser supplies.”

Medicaid investigations

Two years ago the General Assembly beefed up the attorney general’s budget to double the size of the Medicaid Investigation Division. In a sweep this time last year it arrested 20 people, and has obtained 17 convictions so far.

Now it has announced the results of its latest fraud sweep: the arrests on Tuesday of nine health-care providers, including a dentist, home health workers, a mental health care provider, and an HIV case manager.

The only Triangle arrest involved a woman named Gloria Sawyer, the owner of I Believe in Miracles in Raleigh. The AG’s Office says when she applied to the state to be a Medicaid provider for HIV case management, she didn’t disclose that she had felony convictions.

Investigators say she received more than $100,000 for services to Medicaid recipients. She was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.

The state is pursuing criminal convictions and financial restitution. About $200,000 in fraudulent payments are alleged in the cases stemming from Tuesday’s arrests.

In 2010, the General Assembly increased the budget for Medicaid investigations, and the staff was expanded in 2011 with attorneys, investigators, analysts and support staff organized into investigative teams that include SBI agents and others.

Subcommittee chairs

House Speaker Thom Tillis Tuesday named the chairs of the House Appropriations subcommittees. Chairing education will be Reps. Hugh Blackwell of Burke, Craig Horn of Union, and Chuck McGrady of Henderson.

Chairing General Government will be Reps. George Cleveland of Onslow and Rayne Brown of Davidson. Heading Health & Human Services will be Reps. Marilyn Avila of Wake, William Brisson, a Democrat from Bladen, and Mark Hollo of Alexander. The Information Technology subcommittee will be chaired by Rep. Jason Saine of Lincoln.

Staff writers Craig Jarvis and Rob Christensen

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