State for Sale - Art Pope, Citizens United and North Carolina politics

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State for Sale - Art Pope, Citizens United and North Carolina politics


Post by Foggy »

[link]State for Sale, ... table=true[/link]

Long and fascinating article in the New Yorker about how we lost the state to the GOP because of one rich asshole.

In the spring of 2010, the conservative political strategist Ed Gillespie flew from Washington, D.C., to Raleigh, North Carolina, to spend a day laying the groundwork for REDMAP, a new project aimed at engineering a Republican takeover of state legislatures. Gillespie hoped to help his party get control of statehouses where congressional redistricting was pending, thereby leveraging victories in cheap local races into a means of shifting the balance of power in Washington. It was an ingenious plan, and Gillespie is a skilled tactician—he once ran the Republican National Committee—but REDMAP seemed like a long shot in North Carolina. Barack Obama carried the state in 2008 and remained popular. The Republicans hadn’t controlled both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly for more than a century. (“Not since General Sherman,” a state politico joked to me.) That day in Raleigh, though, Gillespie had lunch with an ideal ally: James Arthur (Art) Pope, the chairman and C.E.O. of Variety Wholesalers, a discount-store conglomerate. The Raleigh News and Observer had called Pope, a conservative multimillionaire, the Knight of the Right. The REDMAP project offered Pope a new way to spend his money.

For years, Pope, like several other farsighted conservative corporate activists, has been spending millions in an attempt to change the direction of American politics. According to an analysis of tax records by Democracy NC, a progressive government watchdog group, in the past decade Pope, his family, his family foundation, and his business have spent more than forty million dollars in this effort. Sizable as Pope’s contributions have been, they are negligible in comparison with his fortune. The Pope family foundation—of which Art Pope is the chairman and president, and one of four directors—reportedly has assets of nearly a hundred and fifty million dollars.

This wealth has enabled Pope to participate in the public arena on a scale that few individuals can match. Some have compared him to Charles and David Koch, the conservative oil-and-chemical magnates, whom Pope regards as friends; Pope has at times joined forces with them, attending some of their semi-annual secret planning summits and, through the family foundation, contributing millions to many of the same causes. Pope, in addition to being on the board of Americans for Prosperity—which David Koch founded, in 2004—served on the board of its predecessor, Citizens for a Sound Economy, which Koch co-founded, in 1984. Charles Koch recently praised the Popes, along with other donors, for providing financial support for the 2012 election effort, and tax records show that Pope has given money to at least twenty-seven groups supported by the Kochs, including organizations opposing environmental regulations, tax increases, unions, and campaign-spending limits. Pope, in fact, helped fund the legal center run by James Bopp, the lawyer who made the initial filing in the Citizens United case.

In pursuit of his goals, Pope, like the Kochs, has created a network combining a family fortune, the resources of a large private company, and family-funded policy organizations. Of the forty million dollars that his network has spent in the past decade, thirty-five million has gone to half a dozen ostensibly nonpartisan policy groups, which he has been instrumental in creating and directing. Pope claims that these organizations are independent of his control, but, on average, the Pope family foundation supplies them with more than eighty-five per cent of their funds. Though these groups are officially defined as philanthropic, almost all parts of the Pope enterprise push the same aggressively pro-business, anti-government message. Because Pope funds the groups through his family foundation, he is able to take tax writeoffs. “I am careful to comply with the law,” Pope says. “And I keep my personal activities separate from my philanthropic, public-policy, grassroots, and independent expenditure efforts.” But, by taking full advantage of recent changes in tax and campaign-finance law, he has created a singular influence machine that, according to critics, blurs the lines between tax-deductible philanthropy and corporate-funded partisan advocacy.More, as they say, at the link.
For more information, read it again.

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State for Sale - Art Pope, Citizens United and North Carolina politics


Post by Sterngard Friegen »

Sunshine is the best (and cheapest) disinfectant.

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State for Sale - Art Pope, Citizens United and North Carolina politics


Post by kate520 »

Don't you get irate when conservatives say things like "Our movement is organic" and "See, Americans are center right."No, they have been arranged this way. The only way conservatives get majorities is by fixing it so only they can win...gerrymandering, pandering, buying office. They fly around the country in the middle of the night* buying legislation that favors them.
Edit: *'actually, under cover of darkness

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State for Sale - Art Pope, Citizens United and North Carolina politics


Post by ObjectiveDoubter »

[link]State for Sale, ... table=true[/link]

Long and fascinating article in the New Yorker about how we lost the state to the GOP because of one rich asshole.Foggy, when I resided in Wilkesboro and worked in Winston-Salem (1988-1991), I couldn't recognize the Democratic Party. It certainly wasn't my Democratic Party. The electeds to state office from the entire county were mostly Dems, but we had nothing in common. And everything was so local. The Dems ran the exurban cities like Wilkesboro and there were so many of them in NC. The only thing that mattered to anyone was widening the road (421) between Winston-Salem and Boone. Ironically, Winston-Salem was such an enlightened city culturally. Except for the billboards with huge pictures of aborted fetuses. I had to pass them every day, driving to work. I was happy to go home to Los Angeles after 2-1/2 years.

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State for Sale - Art Pope, Citizens United and North Carolina politics


Post by Litlebritdifrnt2 »

Which gave us IGMFU wankers like thisJason Saine received unemployment compensation for more than a year before he landed a part-time job as a state legislator in North Carolina. This month, he joined his fellow Republicans in supporting a bill that slashes unemployment insurance in the state.The bill reduces the maximum weekly unemployment check from $530 to $350 and effectively slashes the duration of benefits from 73 weeks to anywhere between 12 and 20 weeks. The ultimate purpose of the measure is to reduce North Carolina businesses' tax burden by speeding repayment of $2.5 billion the state borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment claims over the past few years.Talk about pulling up the ladder behind you. [/break1]] ... lp00000003

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State for Sale - Art Pope, Citizens United and North Carolina politics


Post by John Thomas8 »

Egads, kill a bill because it has generated too much support?

[/break1]]Raleigh, N.C. (, Mark Binker) — The House Rules Committee has killed a bill that would have legalized medical marijuana, an effort by House leaders to stem a tide of phone calls and emails on the topic.

It is somewhat unusual to give a measure an unfavorable report. Typically, bills that won't pass merely sit in committee unheard and untended.

"We did it to be done with it, so people could move on for the session," said Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake. He said lawmakers we're being "harassed" with phone calls and emails about medical marijuana.

The committee listened to public comments about the bill for about 20 minutes before voting.

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