Question: Why is Senator Kay Hagan (Democrat-NC) not in prison for recommending Judge Murphy for a lifetime federal bench appointment, 9 days before Murphy ruled in favor of Hagan’s husband’s firm in a multi-million dollar lawsuit?
Answer: it comes in two parts: first, while it’s perfectly obvious that it was quid pro quo, which is bribery for which all three of them should have gone to prison, these prosecutions are nearly impossible if there is not a filmed exchange of a bag of money, or a recorded conversation where the principals plainly state the exchange of favors; second, she’s a Democrat. They don’t even get a few cross words in the press for doing these things openly.
Besides, it’s small potatoes compared to what Democrat Senators Harry Reid, Chris Dodd, and Diane Feinstein (too many cases to link them all) have done routinely in broad daylight, with no consequence. But just because it’s difficult to prosecute, and just because other Democrats do it on a more grand scale does not mean she’s not guilty and doesn’t deserve to go to federal prison for bribery.
She did it, and she does. And because she’s in a tight race right now to retain her seat again Republican challenger Thom Tillis, it’s important to know who you might be voting for.
The Hydrodyne Case in 2009
The particulars of Water Power Inc LLC v Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority are mundane enough. Water Power Inc and several other small hydroelectric generating companies (who generated electricity from the waterways) sued the regional water authority (PTRWA), claiming that it improperly diverted too much water from the Deep River as PTRWA filled an upstream reservoir created by the recently completed Randleman Dam, harming the financial interests of the hydroelectric companies. The merits of the case are not crucial to this discussion, although I will mention in passing that the Dam had been planned since 1937, and was constructed from 2000-2004. The small companies won, and since PTRWA was owned by municipalities, several cities (and their taxpayers) were ultimately responsible for paying for the multi-million dollar ruling, part of which ended up in Chip Hagan’s pockets.
One of the plaintiffs was Hydrodyne Industries LLC. The “Managing Partner” and part-owner of Hydrodyne was Chip Hagan, husband of newly-elected U.S. Senator Kay Hagan. Presiding over the case was Superior Court Judge Calvin Murphy. On October 14, 2009, Senator Hagan recommended Judge Murphy to be considered for a lifetime appointment to a seat on the U.S. District Court for North Carolina’s western district. On October 23, Judge Murphy ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, among them Chip Hagan.
Chip Hagan and the U.S. Senate Logo Briefcase
On November 4, Senator Kagan withdrew Murphy’s name from consideration, shortly after the Greensboro News & Record began asking questions about the propriety of it all. She claimed (of course) she had no idea that the judge had been sitting on a case in which her husband was a significant player.
Judge Murphy claimed (of course) that he was unaware of any connection. Others have claimed variations of that: Chip Hagan played almost no role in the lawsuit, and that it’s highly unlikely the judge would have known the connection.
Facts on the ground suggest otherwise. First, Chip Hagan was not only the “managing partner” of one of the plaintiffs, he identified himself in an affidavit to the court as the “manager and authorized representative of Hydrodyne”, indicating “personal knowledge” of the financial numbers being used.
And then there’s the matter of The Briefcase™. While it does not appear Chip Hagan ever took the floor in open court, he certainly attended a hearing on July 28. And he was not exactly hidden in the crowd.
[PTRWA lead counsel Robert] Brinson cited several ways Murphy could have known of Chip Hagan’s role in the case and his relationship to the senator, including Chip Hagan’s presence in the courtroom during a July 28 hearing allegedly with a U.S. Senate notebook.
He sat “behind plaintiff’s counsel carrying and displaying a briefcase or portfolio bearing a visible logo of the United States Senate,” water authority director John Kime said in an accompanying affidavit [to a subsequent petition to re-hear], adding it “could readily be seen from anywhere in the courtroom.“
What a Coincidence!
Right. I believe it’s possible that this sort of thing might happen: the senator was blissfully ignorant of the case in front of Murphy, and selected him based on his merits; Murphy, upon interviewing with the senator (and he did sit in her office on October 12) was unaware that her husband was a bit player in his current case; and Chip had no idea his wife was about to recommend a federal bench position to the judge presiding over his case.
But I don’t believe it. For starters, Chip Hagan’s sporting around of The Briefcase™ had one intended audience: Judge Murphy. At that point probably to intimidate the judge, rather than entice him into some kind of quid pro quo. And while many Senators would not consult with their spouses regarding judicial nominations, this senator’s husband was an attorney with likely extensive knowledge of the regional talent. That conversation would have happened naturally, and it would be no crime to consult with her husband about who might make a good federal judge.
But if that husband-wife conversation happened, and the result was the recommendation of Judge Murphy, then a crime was definitely committed. In such a case, Kay Hagan would have definitely known Judge Murphy was presiding over Chip’s case. If she brought his name up, he would have told her that Murphy was currently presiding over his case. Any honest politician would have passed on making that recommendation. Nobody, not even a Democrat, is that stupid. It follows inescapably that she would have named him on purpose, and done so for dishonest reasons.
That is if that husband-wife conversation happened. I can’t prove it. But…… it’s not like it’s the only ethics-challenged story involving Kay Hagan and steering taxpayer money to her husband’s business interests.
More of Hagan’s Profiteering From Position
As we know, Porkulus™ was not much of an economic Stimulus, but it was a great $800 billion slush fund for Democrats to funnel money to unions and personal friends and family. Once again, Little Chip was on the scene with his hand out:
JDC Manufacturing, a company co-owned by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband Charles “Chip” Hagan, lowered the total cost of a 2010 stimulus-funded energy project but kept all of the savings, sending none back to taxpayers who had funded the stimulus grant.
The company’s original application stated the total project would cost $438,627, and said JDC would contribute “leveraged funds” amounting to $187,983, or 43 percent of the total. As the project reached completion, however, JDC revised the total budget downward by $114,519 and applied all the savings to its share, keeping all the taxpayer funding.
In short, Chip Hagan’s company pocketed $114,000 in money they should not have.
Is this who you want to vote for?