Former State Senator Fred Hobbs admitted today that he illegally funneled money through his employees to the campaigns of Marc Basnight, Governor Perdue and others.  Hobbs, one of the principles of the engineering firm Hobbs Upchurch & Associates, was fined $150,00 by the State Board of Elections this morning.  This afternoon, criminal charges were filed by the local District Attorney.   The charges are only misdemeanors which means he’s facing the frightening punishment of a slap on the wrist.  Chewing bubble gum during catechism class will get you a harsher punishment than Hobbs will get.

We now have two prominent businessmen who illegally funneled money to Basnight and Perdue through their employees.  Will Marc Basnight continue to deny he knew nothing of this scheme?  Is it just a coincidence that Fred Hobbs and Rusty Carter did it exactly the same way and that they both did it for more than a decade?  This blogger thinks not.  With Perdue’s career still in the fast lane, look for Marc Basnight to provide cover for her.  The two are known to be close friends and Marc Basnight is nothing if not loyal.  And don’t look for Hobbs to spill the beans either.  Facing only misdemeanor charges, he’ll keep his mouth shut and take the plea deal like Carter.

There are differences in the two cases, though, which might not make for a quick and easy plea deal.  Should the DA do her job in a thorough and professional manner, she will have to investigate the ‘pay to play’ aspect of scheme.  Hobbs’ engineering business relies heavily on federal and state grants.  Most of the state grants come from Boards filled with Basnight and Perdue appointees.   Knowing that the NC GOP reads this blog, I would urge them to press the DA to thoroughly investigate this aspect of the case.  Unless of course they have designs on using the Boards for their own playground and don’t want to poop in their own sandbox.

UPDATE:  FROM THE TOO GOOD TO PASS UP DEPARTMENT:  Is Hobbs lawyer really named Weisel?  Listen to him try and weasel out of the charges…

Here’s a quick roundup of what led to Hobbs’ and Carters’ downfall:

Basnight Received $68,000 from Employees of Company Headed by Easely’s Frat Buddy

More Interesting Donations to Basnight

Pay to Play – Basnight Contributors Receive Millions in Grants from Agencies with Basnight Appointees

Basnight’s Contributions from Atlantic Corp Being Investigated

NCGOP Running Parallel Investigation into Basnight Contributions or Taking Credit for ToD’s Work?

Basnight Donations from Hobbs Upchurch Should be Investigated