Former N.C. lawmaker says his group acted lawfully in elections

Former N.C. lawmaker says his group acted lawfully in elections

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GARY D. ROBERTSON

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. – The chief executive of the only companies to donate to a Republican group critical of GOP House members who allied with Democrats testified Wednesday the group worked carefully to ensure compliance with state law.

Former state Rep. Art Pope’s family businesses gave at least $186,000 to the Republican Legislative Majority of North Carolina this year, according to IRS reports. Pope defended the group’s work Wednesday during a state elections board hearing into whether the organization broke state campaign laws and expressly advocated the defeat of Rep. Richard Morgan and four of his allies during the May primary.

Morgan and Rep. Rick Eddins, R-Wake, lost in the primaries. In April, Morgan complained to state elections monitors about the mailings sent out by the group financed by Pope.

But Pope said that when the group was founded in 2004, leaders made sure they produced campaign literature focusing on issues and not the defeat of candidates.

"We consciously and expressly narrowed the intent," Pope told the board during its second day of hearings. "We knew that we were going to be using corporate dollars."

Republican Legislative Majority is a so-called "527" group that can receive unlimited amounts of corporate money. Recent state laws attempt to require more disclosure from these independent political groups. (more…)

About the author

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.
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