Pete's Prep: Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018

Gov. Cooper hires lobbyist days after inking deal pipeline deal with his client

Well, this doesn't look good. At all.

Lee Lilley was hired as Governor Roy Cooper's Legislative Director a few weeks ago - fresh off his time as a lobbyist for one of the companies involved in the natural gas pipeline project Cooper just approved.

The deal includes a $58 million payment into a fund to be controlled by the Governor - which might not be legal.

From Charlotte TV station WBTV:

Lobbying disclosure records maintained by the U.S. House of Representatives show Lilley worked as a lobbyist on behalf of companies and trade groups connected the petroleum, energy and natural gas industry.

Included in the companies on whose behalf Lilley was registered to lobby Congress in 2017 was Dominion Resources, Inc.

Dominion is a major investor in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. Lilley was also registered to lobby Congress on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute, American Transmission Company and Arkema, Inc, a multinational chemical company that manufactures products in the oil and gas industry, among others.

Permits were approved Jan. 26th and Gov. Cooper announced the four companies building the pipeline would pay $58 million into an escrow account.

A "meet and greet" for Lilley was held four days later.

When WBTV broke the story, the Governor's office press shop put out a press release announcing the hire.

Had former Governor Pat McCrory hired an oil industry lobbyist four days after approving a pipeline deal with a slush fund for himself, the number of heads exploding among state media and Democrats would create rivers of blood, brains and gore in the streets of Raleigh. 

McCrory, a Republican, was attacked for the duration of his four-year term as a pawn of Duke Energy, because he was a longtime employee of the company.

The Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson highlights the hypocrisy of the Governor:

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper spent much of his first 13 months in office defending the venerated principle of separation of powers. At the end of January, however, by signing a $57.8 million deal connected with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Cooper basically proved he’s been acting like a hypocrite all along.

The publication is affiliated with the conservative John Locke Foundation - so this issue is sort of in Henderson's wheelhouse.

Separation of powers is an important principle. (John Locke was one of the first political theorists to articulate it concisely.) It keeps one group of government officials from gaining too much power. Too bad the governor doesn’t really believe in it.

The pipeline deal that Gov. Cooper made - specifically the $58 million payout - is an end-run around the legislature, which constitutionally controls state funding.

NC GOP brands Democrat lawfare "#SueTillBlue"

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court blocked - if only temporarily - legislative district maps affecting Wake and Mecklenburg Counties. The maps were drawn by a Stanford University law professor at the direction of a lower federal Court. North Carolina Republican legislators are appealing the ruling.

The maps drawn by the court-appointed "Special Master" for six other counties remain in effect.

From the News & Observer:

Chief Justice John Roberts, who hears emergency requests from North Carolina, agreed to partially grant the petition for emergency relief days before candidates are set to file for office.

The order was released early Tuesday evening, and does not elaborate on why election districts for North Carolina’s two largest urban counties were the only two the court blocked.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito noted they would have blocked the ruling in full, while Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would not have granted the stay, according to the three-paragraph order.

So, the plaintiffs went back to state court Wednesday...

Republicans contended in the federal case that some of the legal questions should have been settled in state court because they involved questions about violations to the state constitution, but now they are speaking out against further proceedings there.

Republican Representative David Lewis held a news conference yesterday to slam the progressive groups that have been suing over redistricting:

This is all part of President Obama and Eric Holder’s plan to sue all Republican states while ignoring egregious blue states like Maryland and Illinois.

These Democratic groups lose in state court, they run to federal court. When they lose in federal court, they run back to state court. It is judge shopping, pure and simple. They are trying to ignore a Supreme Court decision that came out less 24 hours ago!

Filing to run for office begins Monday. It ends on Feb. 28.

State lobbyist indicted

WBTV has another story about a lobbyist, except this guy is in a lot more trouble. Mark Bibbs was indicted for failing to register as a lobbyist and for obstruction of justice.

Here's the story.

Bibbs said he didn't think he needed to register separately as a lobbyist for the second year of the two-year legislative term.

About that gender pay gap

An explosive study of Uber drivers pay reveals women earn less than men. Is is due to discrimination?

No. It's not.

And the idea that women are paid less for "doing the same work" is not true. Women are doing the work differently - making different choices - which accounts for the disparity.

First, driving speed alone can explain nearly half of the gender pay gap (48%). Second, over a third of the gap can be explained by returns to experience (36%), a factor which is often almost impossible to evaluate in other contexts that lack high frequency data on pay, labor supply, and output. The remaining ∼20% of the gender pay gap can be explained by choices over where to drive. Men’s willingness to supply more hours per week (enabling them to learn more) and to target the most profitable locations shows that women continue to pay a cost for working reduced hours each week.

We show that—much like with traditional jobs—there is a gender pay gap. However, unlike earlier studies, we are able to completely explain the pay gap with three main factors related to driver preferences and learning: returns to experience, a pay premium for faster driving, and preferences for where to drive. Indeed, the contribution of the return to experience to gender earnings gaps has not gotten much attention in previous empirical literature, as it is often quite difficult to measure in traditional work settings. These results suggest that the role of on-the-job learning may contribute to the gender earnings gap more broadly in the economy than previously thought.

Overall, our results suggest that, even in the gender-blind, transactional, flexible environment of the gig economy, gender-based preferences can open gender earnings gaps. 

I don't expect this study to get much media attention.

And finally...

Just a corgi riding a pony. Nothing to see here.

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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