Democratic Party leaders are likely unhappy that Kim Strach is becoming the new director of the State Board of Elections, which has changed to Republican control (a 3-2 majority, with all members appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory). But Strach is a qualified and experienced person. Shes rubbed Democrats the wrong way because she conducted investigations on former House Speaker Jim Black (who went to prison on corruption charges), former Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps (also prison), a Democratic House member and two Democratic governors, Beverly Perdue and Mike Easley.
But Strach, who is an unaffiliated voter, will soon face a challenge. Shell lead the probe of a complaint filed by Democracy NC, a watchdog group, that 60 campaign contributions totaling more than $230,000 had been made from an indicted sweepstakes company owner to Gov. Pat McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger, all Republicans. The sweepstakes industry is trying to gain a stronger foothold in North Carolina.
This will be an early test. This issue gets to the heart of whether special interest groups willing to spend any amount of money to get what they want can open the checkbook and do as they please. (What they want typically brings some sort of financial benefit.) Strach and her investigators may find nothing amiss, or they may find something. Whatever happens, Strach obviously knows her performance in this matter will be closely watched and judged.
McCrory had a right to name a new board, but doing so on the eve of an investigation that could be looking into his campaign wasnt the most sensitive timing.
Now the pressure is on Kim Strach to be as thorough when it comes to this focus on GOP leaders as she was on the Democratic ones.