Blog

Did Art Pope break his pledge to step away from politics as State Budget Director?

In December 2012, when then-Governor Pat McCrory announced Art Pope’s appointment as State Budget Director he said Pope promised to take time off from his other commitments, but Bradley Foundation documents show Pope’s influence on the organization was beginning to grow while he was budget director.

“I want to say this that Art has agreed to take time away from his business and from the family Pope foundation and from his numerous public and nonprofit boards to serve the state again as a full-time volunteer”  – Pat McCrory, December 20, 2012 

 

Despite that pledge, Pope continued to fund North Carolina conservative political groups as a board member of the right-wing Bradley Foundation. Pope joined the Bradley board in 2012 and continued to serve during 2013 – while also serving as State Budget Director. Pope was named Chair of the Bradley Foundation Board in 2017. 

2013 Bradley Foundation Board of Directors, Pope is pictured standing on the far right (Bradley Foundation Annual Report, 2013)

We have previously covered the Bradley Foundation’s growing influence in North Carolina and its plan to bring the “Wisconsin model” to other swing states. Now it is clear that Art Pope was continuing to fund right-wing political committees in North Carolina at the same time he was a state employee.

Between 2011 and 2015 the foundation granted $920,000 to Pope’s Civitas and another $59,000 to the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. The foundation plans to donate another $1.5 million to Civitas and the John Locke Foundation to create a “comprehensive communications infrastructure around four primary elements: radio, online content aggregation, mobile applications and an AP-style news service for local newspapers.”

Organization

City

State

Amount Received 2011-2015

Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina

Raleigh

NC

$50,000.00

Physicians for Reform Foundation

Hickory

NC

$40,000.00

Old Glory Legacy Foundation

Wagram

NC

$1,000.00

Duke University Office of Research Support

Durham

NC

$65,000.00

Duke University

Durham

NC

$132,444.00

John W. Pope Civitas Institute

Raleigh

NC

$920,000.00

The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy

Raleigh

NC

$59,000.00

(Reproduced from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, accessed, 5/8/2017)

Apparently conservative-influence peddling is a prize power-hungry Pope can’t quit.