Following the money

A really good, in-depth look at some of the influence of money in politics from WRAL.

From Chad Barefoot's $1M state senate seat...

"You basically have the leadership vacuuming up money though the state and then funneling it through the parties to candidates," said Bob Phillips, North Carolina state director for Common Cause, a good-government group that lobbies for limits on campaign spending.

For example, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger raised $1.6 million in 2012. Because he occupies a seat where most voters are likely to back Republicans and his Democratic opponent raised less than $4,000, Berger was able turn over most of his campaign cash to the party.

...to Art Pope buying up the legislature

"My opponent did not defeat me. Art Pope defeated me," said Cullie Tarleton, a Democrat and former lawmaker who lost to Rep. Jonathan Jordan, R-Ashe, in 2010 and again in 2012.

It's a very good report that follows some of the money and illustrates the typical flow of money, including the diminishing influence of the candidate's own fundraising in favor of party and outside dark money influence.

Comments

And when you're bought and paid for

your loyalty is to your owners.

Do you think Chad Barefoot or Jon Jordan are going to cross Berger, Apodaca or Pope?

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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 need more reporting like this

Kudos to WRAL on this one.

This is important to note:

To be sure, Democratic leaders plied the same tactics for much of the past century and tried to keep pace in 2012. Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, led Senate Democrats by raising $423,247, much of which went to the state Democratic Party. But Apodaca, Phil Berger and other Republicans were able to raise much more, in part because they control the flow of legislation.

(Emphasis mine.) And they also have the biggest donor and conservative think-tank owner - Art Pope - in a high level position in the McCrory administration responsible for policies on implementing legislation and advising lawmakers on the budgetary impacts of their proposed legislation.

You think Mr. Pope might have some "advice" for them on how that sweet candy bar nectar campaign money gets spread around?

Speaking of dark money

The tiniest little ray of light has been shone on Tillis's SuperPAC corporate donations.

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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