That’s Rep. Donna White, revealing last week a quid pro quo between Majority Leader John Bell and Rep. Larry Strickland during the latest round of legislative redistricting.
According to Rep. White, Bell traded campaign funds – “lots of money” – to Rep. Strickland for his blessing to move three precincts to Bell’s new district:
“[Rep. Larry Strickland] would lose North and South Bloomfield and Bentonville and John Bell who is the majority leader would be moving up from Wayne County into those 3 precincts … I understand that with his big bucks that he has to have to have the big majority leader but he’s willing to share a lot of those big bucks so I said come on we’ll be glad to give you three precincts for lots of money.”
White continued to describe how Bell knew his districts “a long time before we did” – directly contradicting what the GOP told the public and what Republican lawyers argued in court before the federal three judge panel.
It’s no secret party leaders raise lots of money. But to hear in plain audio that Republican leadership bought off the support of their own caucus for their racially gerrymandered maps is shocking.
Add in that GOP leaders mislead the public on when their maps were drawn and it becomes clear Republican leaders knew their maps were suspect and that they wouldn’t have the support of the public, the three judge panel, and even their own members.
“These new legislative maps are so badly gerrymandered that Republican leaders had to buy off members of their own caucuses,” NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds said. “The fact is, these ‘new’ maps continue their unconstitutional racial gerrymander and were known to Republican leaders long before the public – despite Republicans saying otherwise.”