Civitas funnels out-of-state money into NC Supreme Court race

First, a few words from Justice Paul Newby's sponsor:

Whereas candidates and their committees can accept only $5,000 from individual donors in an election year12 and cannot receive moneys from corporations, unions, or associations, super PACs can accept money from any type of donor (corporation, union, or private individual) without any limit on the amount donated and can spend that money without limit to promote the election or defeat of specific candidates.

That's excerpted from a Federalist Society's white paper, in which the author expends much effort trying to convince the reader that huge campaign expenditures by super PACs are actually a good thing, since it helps educate us idiots better:

Hall and Bonneau’s research suggests that, rather than alienating voters, increased spending in state supreme court races appears to increase voter participation and may actually strengthen the public’s confidence in the judicial branch:

"[Our] study documents that increased spending in elections to state supreme courts has the effect of substantially enhancing citizen participation in these races. . . . [And] it is reasonable to postulate that by stimulating mass participation and giving voters greater ownership in the outcomes of these races, expensive campaigns significantly strengthen the critical linkage between citizens and courts and enhance the quality of democracy."

By “tap[ping] the energy and the legitimizing power of the democratic process,” voters have a direct connection to the judicial branch that supports rather than undermines the integrity of the judiciary.

But what you won't find in this paper, probably due to the fact that the Federalist Society is supposed to be non-partisan, and they want to continue their chummy relationship with Harvard and Yale and such, is that back in August, they gave $75,000 to Civitas Action, and a week later, Civitas Action bought $72,000 in radio ads for Paul Newby.

And the fact that they (or Civitas) tried to mask this by describing the donation as for "non-profit education research" should be enough to generate at least a cursory investigation by the FEC. I would have added the state board of elections, but it appears Civitas is already gunning for them, so they'll probably keep their heads down for the time being.

And as to this "there's nothing to worry about here" observation:

Thus, super PACs are able to advocate for the election or defeat of candidates for elected office through various means, including television, radio, and print advertising as well as other forms of media. Like traditional PACs, however, super PACs must disclose to the Federal Election Commission the identities of any person or organization donating more than $200 per year.

Of course, the Federalist Society isn't a PAC, so they don't have to do that. But if you look at an older (2010 990) financial statement, you'll see a list of the usual suspects, including Bradley, Scaife and (of course) the Koch brothers. And a huge amount of money from Donor's Trust:

DonorsTrust was established as a 501(c)(3) public charity to ensure the intent of donors who are dedicated to the ideals of limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise. As such, DonorsTrust provides an innovative charitable vehicle for donors who wish to safeguard their charitable intent to fund organizations that undergird America's founding principles.

Since we could follow this money trail for days, I'm going to end this diary while I still have a tiny little bit of holiday spirit left. But I will say this: If the intent of the donor needs to be safeguarded in such a fashion, I doubt if charity has a damned thing to do with where this money is going.