Art Pope exposed on a national scale, once again:
Recognizing that this conservative moment might not last long, Republican legislators are moving swiftly. Despite the headlines, the most notorious bills—like the resolution to establish a state religion or the measure to outlaw public nipple displays—have been nonstarters. But the core of Pope’s agenda is going ahead. Every lawmaker in North Carolina knows that agenda: Scale back taxes, especially for businesses and the wealthy; slice away at the social safety net; and reverse the state’s focus on public schools as an engine for social and economic progress.
While writing this, I've got the TV news (14) going on in the background, and there was just a quick blurb of McCrory saying, "I've learned in leadership, you don't get caught up in who gets the credit." I bet you have. You're only going to be allowed to live in that Governor's mansion as long as you play by Pope's rules:
Art Pope has been the big-money boss man of North Carolina conservatives since the 1990s. Drawing on a family fortune amassed through Variety Wholesalers, the discount retail chain launched by his father, Pope has spent more than $40 million to promote a libertarian agenda, along with voter-suppression measures like voter ID. He represents a sharp departure from the business moderates who used to run the North Carolina GOP, and has, in fact, spent heavily in replacing those moderates with right-wing Republicans more to his liking.
Get it? Pope doesn't just help Republicans, he helps Republicans he knows will toe the line. And if you think you can win an intra-party conflict with Art on the other side, think again. He's lost a few of those battles in the past, and he learned from those losses. Won't happen anymore. Not with clout like this:
Pope’s family foundation supplies well over 80 percent of total funding for the state’s leading conservative groups. His right-wing philanthropy has been complemented by generous election contributions. Pope and his family have given almost $4 million to state Republican candidates and the North Carolina GOP. But it wasn’t until 2010 that Pope’s roles as conservative benefactor and Republican donor fully meshed to alter the course of state politics.
Three outside spending groups he helped fund—Americans for Prosperity, Civitas Action, and Real Jobs NC—accounted for 75 percent of the outside money that flooded into North Carolina’s legislative races. That unprecedented level of spending fueled the historic Republican takeover.
Hat-tip to Sue and Chris at ISS for continuing to speak out about this. With Art Pope manipulating both politics and policy in our state, we simply can't afford to not keep our eyes on him.