Art Pope's stink tanks

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) on the State Policy Network is out with a report this week that deserves the attention of anyone interested in progressive and ethical government.

The idea is simple - Art Pope, the Koch Brothers, the Walmart Walton family and others are illegally using "think tanks", like Pope's Civitas and Pope Foundation, as direct lobbying organizations. Officially classified as non-profit educational groups, it's illegal for these groups to engage in lobbying activities.

Think about it for a minute. How many times have "reports" and "studies" by these groups been taken up as gospel by legislators in NC to justify particular laws? How many legislators have been involved in meetings, retreats or presentations for and by these groups?

The distinction between public education and advocacy and lobbying is quite clear under the law and is there for a reason - lobbying groups have to do reporting on activities and donors to ensure that the public is aware of situations involving conflicts of interest or corruption.

If these groups are engaged in lobbying, why register as an educational non-profit? Is there something to hide here?

Comments

About freakin' time

It's been evident to most sentient beings that Art Pope's evil web is all interconnected and that, despite theoretical distinctions of non-profits vs. PACs and advocacy vs. education, all of the organizations have the same agenda and objectives, which is to influence people and pass laws favorable to the Art Popes of the world.

Good to see that this is being seriously challenged.

Also good to learn about StinkTanks.org

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

We have been absolutely asleep!

The Facing South blog article by Sue Sturgis is at: http://www.southernstudies.org/2013/11/are-conservative-think-tanks-breaking-lobbying-law.html.

The CMD PRWatch final study is at: http://www.prwatch.org/files/spn_national_report_final.pdf.

This study ties a lot of stuff from past years together. The right has been successful by keeping
their activities very low profile. To understand the rightwing forces funded by a bunch of billionaires, you need to look at this report by the Institute of Southern Studies, which takes you past ALEC to State Policy Network, an organization with ties to rightwing think tanks, like John Locke Institute (NC, Art Pope), and in fact SPN has helped create these state righwing think tanks over last 20 or so years. This report ties together publicly what has gone on directly under our noses for 40 years and the fact that these groups and organizations have
used Federal nonprofit status for direct political purposes. And they have grown so powerful that they
are the shadow government in many states, like NC, and nationally. This is well worth your read.

In 2009 I asked Elaine Marshall about ALEC and she asked “Who is he”? Truly frightening.
And State Senator Don Vaughn was a member of ALEC, theoretically unaware of what ALEC was
and the terrible mischief to which it was set. The inability of the Democratic Party to understand
and move against these forces ten years ago, or earlier is what cost us North Carolina. Ignorance
is no excuse for our party officials and elected officials.

wafranklin

 

Definitely worth reading

Though I feel compelled to point out that BlueNC has been covering Art Pope's shenanigans in mind-numbing detail for the past ten years.

Not sure who "we" is in your comment title, but your point is well taken.