Archive for October, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Early voting begins Thursday in North Carolina. Two short video messages, pro-Tea Party and anti-Tea Party, are each designed to get their side to the polls with a message that says, “Aren’t you scared by what’s happening in America? Get out and vote!”


Friday, October 8, 2010

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Continuing the theme from the last couple of days, the Institute for Southern Studies has an eye-popping feature about Art Pope. Among other nuggets: Pope basically owns the Civitas Institute, the source of those so-called non-biased polls you see in the press; an amazing 99% of Civitas’ income comes from Pope through his foundation! Pope’s money is paid out monthly, keeping the operation on a short leash. Pope’s foundation is also the second largest institutional donor to Americans for Prosperity. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the brash maneuverings of selfish billionaires, fear not: The Onion reports you, the public, have a new advocate in Washington. Happy viewing.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friday, October 8th, 2010

A front group for ultra-conservative Art Pope is jumping into new territory with the encouragement of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. It is using money from Pope’s business to run attack ads against Democratic leaders in the General Assembly. The 501(c)(4) group, called Civitas Action, has the same executive director, office, and dominating financial backer (i.e., Pope) as its 501(c)(3) nonprofit sister, the John W. Pope Civitas Institute. You may recognize that name; it’s the outfit that regularly sponsors polls on partisan issues that the News & Observer publishes as unbiased public opinion surveys. Art Pope and his various conduits are gearing up for considerably more political spending in the final weeks of the election, according to the Civitas director. It’s worth asking: is Pope’s business treating its donation to the (c)(4)/Civitas as a tax-deductible expense; i.e., is it lowering its tax bill while it buys $265,000 worth of “education” – for a net cost of less than $175,000?


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

The insidious corporate takeover of the U.S. Congress is gaining momentum and going global. A new report reveals that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is soliciting foreign donations to bolster its political operations, which include a $75 million budget for attack ads to elect its proxies to Congress. That’s probably the biggest political budget of any single “nonpartisan” organization this year – and all the funding is secret, because the Chamber shields itself behind the veneer of a nonprofit trade association. The Center for American Progress issued the report about the foreign money and is calling for a federal investigation. Expect more on this story in the coming days. We truly are moving to a new level of political intervention by a handful of billionaires and corporate wheeler-dealers who sense their investment will pay off big in November.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

If you work with a nonprofit group, school, faith-based organization or social-service agency, you can play a vital role in educating and mobilizing voters. A one-hour webinar by the NC Center for Nonprofits will help you understand what nonprofits can and can’t do within tax law restrictions, and also give an overview of the basics about voting in the 2010 NC election that you can share with your clients, members, staff, etc. Register now for the free webinar, which goes from 1:30 to 2:30 on Thursday, October 7.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Secret sponsors: Interest groups are spending five times as much in this election as in the last midterm election – and the identities of the money suppliers behind these groups are mostly unknown, in contrast to 2006 when 90% of the donors were disclosed. Public Citizens has a new report analyzing “fading disclosure” and the New York Times shows how hard it can be to learn who’s behind a nonprofit corporation, the vehicle of choice for 2010. PBS puts “the new wave of bare-knuckle campaigning” in the larger context of deregulation, with a short and powerful profile now playing on YouTube.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday, October 1st, 2010

The South and other parts of the Sunbelt will gain seats in Congress after the redistricting triggered by the new Census figures. But how many seats? The Institute for Southern Studies and its must-read blog Facing South are keeping score. The latest estimate by a private firm shows Florida and Texas gaining a total of six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, more than previously projected, and North Carolina holding steady at 13. However, the estimators admit they don’t include Americans living abroad in their numbers, and considering all those soldiers and contractors who list North Carolina as their home base, who knows – it’s still possible the Tar Heel state will eke out another seat, just as it did after the 2000 Census.


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