Transparency Campaign Suffers Censorship Right Before Election
In an attempt to counter an onslaught of advertising by the Janet Cowell Campaign touting a job well done, a few grassroots activists created a facebook community page titled “Fire Janet Cowell – NC Treasurer.”
The page creators described the situation:
“The Cowell campaign has immense funds from special interests outside of North Carolina, which enables her to purchase a ton of media. We didn’t want the treasurer’s actual performance record and the voice of the grassroots to be drowned out by big-money ads, so we created our own page in order to document the legislative and investment record of our current treasurer.”
Within hours of its creation, the page was flagged and banned from facebook. The creators sent notes to facebook asking the reason for the removal of the page. Meanwhile, they created another page with the same intent that mirrored the content. By the following morning, someone had also removed the second page from facebook, causing one frustrated page creator to make the following post:
“ALRIGHT, that is IT! I have had TWO pages now BLOCKED from facebook in the last 24 hours. What were the pages? [They were] calling upon the voters of NC to FIRE our current state treasurer. This is a violation, and I am curious as to whether this is coming directly from the Janet Cowell campaign. … There was absolutely no personal or abusive content on the site. Apparently someone doesn’t want us to know information like this (and much more):
A national financial rating report was recently released by the Institute for Truth in Accounting in which it was revealed that North Carolina’s financial rating DROPPED 4 PLACES from 31st to 35th in the nation. One thing that impacted NC’s rating drop was our state’s level of unfunded liabilities, such as the state employees’ pensions, that have been negatively affected by the inappropriate investments of our current treasurer. North Carolina is now on the path to receive a drop in our credit score. $26 million was recently invested from the state employees’ pension fund into the FACEBOOK IPO: an inappropriate investment that cost North Carolinians millions! Tell Janet Cowell she is FIRED!”
In response to the expression of frustration, a sitting North Carolina House Representative, Glen Bradley, made the following statement:
“[W]e know from history that Janet Cowell has some ‘pay-to-play’ friends in high places, including a member of the Facebook board of directors who probably directed Cowell to invest the NC State employee pension fund into the Facebook IPO in the first place. This stinks to high heaven!
So explaining why a publicly elected official on the NC Council of State is incompetent and severely damaging North Carolina, a couple weeks ahead of the election to replace her, is ‘inappropriate or abusive content?’ …
It’s time to take a deeper examination of Mrs. Cowell’s friend on the Facebook board of directors to find out if there has been any undue influence in removing material critical of Mrs Cowell’s performance in the last two years.”
Carolina Liberty PAC inquired with another page creator, David Williams, about whether facebook had provided an explanation for the removal of the two pages.
“Sadly, [Facebook] has provided no explanation whatsoever. I wrote a couple of emails, one to their marketing department. I also called them but it is well nigh impossible to get an actual human being,” Mr. Williams replied.
Gaston County activist, Charles Held, attempted to address the matter on Ms. Cowell’s campaign facebook page. He was blocked from posting to the page any further after he made an assertion to the effect of the following:
“Cowell’s buddy Erskine Bowles is a board member of Facebook, a board member of Morgan Stanley (underwriter for Facebook’s IPO), a fundraising “bundler” for Cowell, and the owner of an investment advisory firm that Cowell hired to run the North Carolina pension fund. Anyone can see that the entire Facebook IPO fiasco that cost North Carolina millions was a sweetheart deal designed to funnel money to crony Erskine and his Facebook and Morgan Stanley buddies. This is corruption of the highest order.”
So what was the “abusive” content that caused two separate facebook pages to be taken down so quickly? We will mirror the posts below so that you can look for yourself and determine whether you think this content is inappropriate or abusive:
Cowell even admitted that during her 2008 campaign “mostly, I just sat in a room and dialed for dollars for a year and a half of my life.” http://lockerroom.johnlocke.org/2012/10/29/more-stumbling-and-cronyism-from-north-carolinas-treasurer/
More lousy investment performance from your NC Treasurer…
Janet Cowell has raised more than 50% of her campaign funds this election cycle from out-of-state, and more from New York City than from Charlotte. Is Janet the Treasurer of Wall Street or North Carolina? http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=141471
Janet Cowell touts education policy in her latest ad- an issue which has NO RELEVANCE to the position of state treasurer! Trying to distract from her treasurer’s investment record & NC’s four-place financial rating drop? Or just unfamiliar with the primary duties of state treasurer? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC36pJe1rl4
Janet Cowell gave big raises to pension fund officials http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/janet_cowell_gave_big_raises_to_pension_fund_officials
A national financial rating report was recently released by the Institute for Truth in Accounting in which it was revealed that North Carolina’s financial rating DROPPED 4 PLACES from 31st to 35th in the nation. One thing that impacted NC’s rating drop was our state’s level of unfunded liabilities, such as the state employees’ pensions, that have been negatively affected by the inappropriate investments of our current treasurer. North Carolina is now on the path to receive a drop in our credit score. $26 million was recently invested from the state employees’ pension fund into the FACEBOOK IPO: an inappropriate investment that cost North Carolinians millions! Tell Janet Cowell she is FIRED!
“Other big players in the pay to play scheme with public pensions include New York firms Wolf Popper, Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer and Pennsylvania-based Shiffrin, Barraway, Topaz & Kessler. Collectively, these three firms donated nearly $46,000
to Cowell since 2008.
Records from the National Institute on Money in State Politics show that Cowell’s 2012 campaign has received more money from out of state sources than from North Carolina backers, and in 2008 she received $225,000 in New York-based contributions alone. Why so much financial support from far-away places?
When a politician is empowered with control over such a large pot of money, this is the inevitable result: interest groups will donate money in hopes of getting a slice of the pie. In this case, it seems that Cowell is all too happy to accept donations from out of state law firms, and in turn the law firms hope to be selected in the event North Carolina’s pension fund engages in class action law suits. The result: Cowell’s campaign coffers swell and the law firms profit handsomely.” http://www.nccivitas.org/2012/donations-to-state-treasurer-raise-red-flags/
“Why would our state treasurer take special effort to ensure that NC hires a law firm out of New York to represent North Carolina in a lawsuit? A review of Cowell’s campaign reports indicate that her campaign has received over $72,000 in campaign funds from employees of the NY law firm since 2008!” http://carolinalibertypac.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/state-treasurers-race/
Janet Cowell, responsible for introducing a bill to require that all vehicles in NC are fitted with front license plates. NC does not need a treasurer who demonstrates such a lack of concern with FISCAL IMPACT, such as proposing bills that would impose costly mandates on the people of NC with no real benefit. Once again, out of touch with the people of NC.
“The first major obstacle of the new bill is the outright cost of supplying and additional 8.4 million addition plates for the vehicles already in use. That money will have to be pulled from the budget, or will have to be paid for directly to the DMV. This means less money for constructing I-540 and other road improvement projects.
Many car owners will be opposed to the bill because of the cosmetic damage caused to their car. Many cars are not fitted with brackets for forward plates, meaning one would have to be retrofitted to the car, or holes will have to be drilled directly into the bumper. This may not be a big deal for your average car owner, but imagine drilling two holes in the carbon fiber bumper of your 300,000 dollar Lamborghini. Not only does it cause damage to the car, but most people will agree the front plates are unsightly at best.
The benefits to law enforcement are extremely low. The plates can not be seen at night due to the fact that no cars have forward mounted plate illumination lights. A police officer looking in his rear view mirror during the day at the car behind him will see the letters backwards, making the plate useless. Driving past the officer, the front plate can easily be obscured by other motorist.
The evident lack of value to law enforcement, combined with the high cost of updating current cars with a second license plate, and continuing to produce dual license plates for new cars, makes the new bill pointless.” http://voices.yahoo.com/north-carolina-proposes-dual-license-plate-bill-317558.html?cat=15
OUT OF TOUCH! Restroom Equity??? As a state senator, Janet Cowell introduced a bill to require that all public restrooms be suited with double the facilities in the women’s room than the amount in the men’s room. The bill demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the issues most concerning to the residents of North Carolina, not to mention the fact that it would have been regulatory ridiculousness and a burden on business owners. From the bill: “A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO PROVIDE EQUITY IN THE NUMBER OF WOMEN’S AND MEN’S BATHROOMS. The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: SECTION 1. Declaration of legislative findings and intent. Almost every woman can recall waiting in a long line to use the bathroom, while there was no comparable line for a neighboring men’s bathroom. According to studies on patterns of behavior in the use of bathrooms, it frequently takes women twice as long to use the bathroom as it does men. … The lack of equality between men and women results in the continuation of inconveniences seemingly directed at women.” http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2007&BillID=S972
*note: article was edited in order to correctly attribute a quote.
UPDATE: The content creators of the censored facebook page have since created a page titled “HIRE Steve Royal – NC Treasurer”