When you see an attack ad like the one below, don't you strain to see who paid for it? Don't you? Don't you want to know whose money went into that? Aren't you ready to spend hours trying to find out? Luckily for me, Blogger Penny Smith in Jackson County did that work, probing a PAC calling itself "Carolina Leadership Coalition," which paid for "Nutty Professor" below:
|Steven B. Long|
Its registered agent, at least at one time, was Steven B. Long. Long is on the NC Board of Governors; he was the force behind eliminating the ability of UNC’s Civil Rights Center to litigate on behalf of poor people. A Republican donor, he was on the board of Art Pope’s Civitas Institute, but resigned when he won a seat on the Board of Governors. He has also served as the Treasurer of the NC Republican Party.
One address for the Carolina Leadership Coalition is an office suite on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh. That must be a very large suite, because there are 9 companies listing that address as their agent’s address, including Integrity NC, NC Job Creators Forum and NC Non-Profit Corporation. It is also the address of a large, multi-state, law firm associated with Long.
However, on another set of papers the Carolina Leadership address is given as 10540 Swerling Way in Raleigh, a nice suburban house owned by Collin McMichael. It, too, must be large, because seven companies are listed there, including Common Sense Raleigh, North Carolina Issues Project and the Committee for Sound Policy Solutions.
McMichael was also treasurer for the Thom Tillis Committee, a role with which he is familiar. For example, he staffed the Elizabeth Dole campaigns. He is involved with a group called Holding Together Our Majority, which is affiliated with Tillis and includes among its donors the Koch Brothers. He is also linked to Mark Meadows (his treasurer for the Your Voice Counts PAC), whose donors include, yes, you guessed it, the Koch Brothers. And Meadows’ House Freedom Fund is linked to a number of astro-turf organizations as well as the Koch Brothers. For those of you who don’t know, the Koch Brothers are not from North Carolina. They’re not even southerners, although they have spent considerable money enlisting southerners to their pet causes. (Pope, Meadows and Tillis all have links with ALEC, an organization that churns out conservative policy papers and model legislation.)Penny Smith got started on this research because of slick mailers (not video) in Jackson County (NCH119) extolling the manifest virtues of their incumbent Republican House member, Mike Clampitt. Paid for by a group calling itself a rosy-sounding, made-up name. It looked like a rescue operation, for Clampitt is indeed endangered. His Democratic opponent, Joe Sam Queen, has held the seat before, is widely popular and very well known, and he's been running strong. We noted here back on July 19th that Queen had vastly out-raised Clampitt in the Second Quarter. Same for Ray Russell, the subject of that attack ad below, who vastly out-raised incumbent Republican Jonathan Jordan (NCH93) in the 2nd Quarter (detailed in the same post).
Bound to be more of these "Carolina Leadership Coalition" products out across the state. Many endangered Republican incumbents, with very anemic fund-raising -- a landscape bleak enough to give billionaires the dry heaves. Clampitt and Jordan don't need to raise money. They have Art Pope and the Koch Bros.
One final observation: This attack ad is gonna backfire. Already has. People in the district know Ray Russell. They depend on his science in their daily lives. They can recognize an outrageous smear when they see one. They resent it. Jonathan Jordan will bear the brunt of that anger, and he'll deserve it.