Facing South has the news that the Civitas Institute is holding the Art Pope backed Conservative Leadership Conference in mid-June in Raleigh. Among the featured speakers at the event are Nighel Farge, the virulent anti-immigrant UK leader recently named as a "person of interest" in the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Featured speakers also include:
- Paul Valone, president of the extremist gun-rights group Grass Roots North Carolina, which raffled off an AR-15 rifle, one thousand rounds of ammunition, and a portrait of Hillary Clinton to use as a target.
- Michael Farris, CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a key backer of NC's discriminatory HB-2 "bathroom bill". The organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Povery Law Center.
Civitas has been trying to get more outside funding for their work to combat criticism of the organization basically just being a mouthpiece for Art Pope's hate-filled brand of far-right ideology. Some prominent NC-based companies have been throwing their support behind Civitas and their violent hate-speech.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, an official sponsor of the 2017 Conservative Leadership Conference, gave $55,000 to Civitas between 2014 and 2016.
- The Charlotte office of Time Warner Cable, now Spectrum, also lists $15,000 in contributions to Civitas in the same two-year period.
- Charlotte-based Duke Energy, another sponsor of the June leadership conference, gave an additional $5,000 to Civitas in 2015.
- Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in Charlotte is listed as a $5,000 contributor for 2015.
Click the links above for contact pages where you can let them know exactly how you feel about their sponsorship of right-wing prejudice and violence.