The North Carolina State Board of Elections has launched formalinvestigations into two high-profile Republican figures and one Republican dark-money group in connection with the 2022 election. Last week, Carolina Forward filed two formal complaints uncovering illegally unreported campaign support during the 2022 election cycle:
The first regards E.C. Sykes, the 2022 Republican nominee for State Senate District 18, who accepted and did not report communications training provided to him by the group Alliance Defending Freedom.
The second regards former Republican Congressman Mark Walker’s “Win the Courts” organization, which provided material support to several Republican candidates for the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals which was never reported....
E.C. Sykes and “Alliance Defending Freedom”
E.C. Sykes is a multimillionaire investor, former businessman, and far-right Christian fundamentalist who ran for North Carolina’s State Senate District 18 in Wake and Granville counties. Sykes spent approximately a quarter of a million dollars of his own considerable wealth on his ultimately unsuccessful campaign, which he lost to Democrat Mary Wills Bode by a larger-than-expected 5.5 points....
Media training is a permissible form of in-kind material campaign support, so long as its value does not exceed the maximum allowable contribution limit ($5,600 in 2022). Like all campaign contributions, it must also be reported. Sykes did not.
Mark Walker and “Win the Courts”
Republican former Congressman and failed U.S. Senate hopeful Mark Walker unveiled a project called “Win the Courts” in mid-2022, dedicated to assisting Supreme Court and Court of Appeals candidates.
“Win the Courts” was organized as an independent expenditure committee (also known as a “dark money” group). One of its key activities was a colorful bus, pictured here, emblazoned with the images and names of Republican judicial candidates. The bus was a prominent prop at many Republican events.... “Win the Courts” also organized a rally in Greensboro....
Mark Walker and “Win the Courts” broke North Carolina election laws in a number of ways. It provided material campaign logistical support to several candidates, none of which was ever reported; it obviously coordinated closely with the Republican candidates it was organized to promote, which is also prohibited by law.
J.W. Williamson was the founding editor in 1972 of the Appalachian Journal: A Regional Studies Review, which he edited until July of 2000. He has taught college classes in Appalachian history, cultural politics, and literature, and he has lectured widely on the pop-culture history of "Appalachia" in the American consciousness. His books include Interviewing Appalachia, Southern Mountaineers in Silent Films, and Hillbillyland: What the Mountains Did to the Movies and What the Movies Did to the Mountains. He has won the Thomas Wolfe Award given by the Western North Carolina Historical Society, the Laurel Leaves Award given by the Appalachian Consortium, a special Weatherford Award given by Berea College, and the Cratis Williams-James Brown Award given by the Appalachian Studies Association.
The views expressed on WataugaWatch are solely those of J.W. Williamson or individual contributors and are not necessarily shared nor endorsed by the Watauga County Democratic Party nor by any other adults of sound mind in this or any other universe.