Sunday, August 13, 2006

Quid Pro Quo?

It's been pretty clear since shortly after the primary that his handling of the lacrosse case ensured D.A. Mike Nifong's renomination: he dramatically increased his support from African-Americans at the expense, perhaps, of losing conservative whites who, as registered Republicans, couldn't vote in the primary anyway.

Today brings even more interesting news. In the primary, the third candidate, African-American lawyer Keith Bishop, received the endorsement of the influential Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, which represents the city's black political establishment. Yet on March 31, the public face of that establishment, Durham mayor William Bell, sent a campaign contribution to Nifong (see p. 5 of this recently released campaign finance report). To my knowledge, Bell never mentioned this contribution in the many interviews he did in the height of media scrutiny of the case.

The money flowed only four days after Nifong gave his first in dozens of interviews denouncing the players--interviews that were certainly misleading and almost certainly violated the NC ethics code.

First Mark Simeon, Kim Roberts' attorney, and now Mayor Bell--endorsing Nifong immediately after he began his p.r. crusade. The apparent lesson? District attorneys who flout ethical requirements benefit from the act.

Update, Monday, 9.28pm: I (unintentionally) used an outdated name for the organization that endorsed Keith Bishop in the primary, the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People. My thanks to Cash Michaels for correcting the error, and I apologize for not double-checking in the original post.


Anonymous said...

The Recall Nifong - Vote Cheek ticket does have a chance of winning. Here are the results of the May 2 primary:

Mike Nifong- 11,168 45%

Freda Black- 10,269 42%

Keith Bishop-- 3,288 13%

And there's this:

According to the latest voter registration figures, Durham County has 27,070 registered Republicans, 24,566 of whom are white. The county has 86,621 registered Democrats, 46,586 of whom are black. So the demographic bloc supportive of Nifong's behavior formed a majority of the Democratic electorate, while those most likely to be alienated by his tactics couldn't vote in the primary.

As the director of the Durham County Board of Elections noted the day after the primary, "We had a lot of irate, irate Republicans who couldn't vote for district attorney. (whoever wrote that on the hnn blog seems like a pretty smart guy!)

Anonymous said...

Did you notice that a rep of the Fraternal Order of Police who endorsed Nifong's candidacy per Nifong's campaign website shares a last name with the accuser in the Duke case? Any chance they're related? Do you know if anyone's done any follow-up?

Anonymous said...

For the pdf-challenged - how much did Bell contribute to Nifong? Any other recognizable names?