The Right

“How to get away with Gerrymandering:” the NCGOP method

NC Republicans attended an ALEC conference in August where attendees learned “how to gerrymander” from influential Republican lawyers including segregationist enabler Thomas Farr?

Yesterday Slate broke a story about leaked audio revealing, according to Slate, “how state lawmakers are taught to trash evidence, avoid the word gerrymander, and create an appearance of bipartisanship.” The audio originated from an August 2019 conference hosted by the notorious American Legislative Exchange Council, commonly known as ALEC. ALEC is funded by conservative megadonors like Charles Koch and the late David Koch and supports Republican state lawmakers by pushing boilerplate conservative legislation.

The North Carolina lawmakers and their staff who attended this meeting went on to draw legislative maps just one month after hearing a presentation where an influential Republican lawyer advised “if you don’t want it turned over in discovery, you probably ought to get rid of it before you go home.” These lawmakers went on to draw legislative maps as ordered by the court including Rep. Destin Hall who chaired the House’s redistricting process and a staffer for Rep. David Lewis who served as the committee’s Senior Chair. 

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David Lewis and Tim Moore have a long history of using lies and trickery to get their way

The havoc they’ve wreaked on democracy isn’t surprising given their history.

Last week’s surprise budget vote rattled even the most seasoned political insiders. Generally, bipartisan consensus was that House Speaker Tim Moore’s maneuver was a “new low” for North Carolina politics, which was no small feat considering the number of lows that have drawn national attention over the past few years.

Looking further into Moore’s background reveals the origin and precedent for his contempt for the democratic process. Those who follow #ncpol closely know Moore and his “top lieutenant,” Rep. David Lewis, the powerful House Rules Chair and Senior Chair of the current redistricting process, have used lies and secret maneuvers to railroad a conservative agenda since 2010. Yet few know Moore’s penchant for trickery extends as far back as student government at UNC-Chapel Hill. Probably even fewer know that Moore and Lewis’ friendship extends back to their time together as College Republicans at Campbell University. 

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Just days after the El Paso shooting Pat McCrory compared his HB2 protestors to “the Klan times two”

This past Sunday, ex-Governor Pat McCrory chose to go on Meet the Press not even 48 hours after the white supremacist massacre in El Paso and center himself in the wake of the deadliest attack targeting Mexican immigrants in modern US History. Supposedly there to discuss how the nation should address gun safety and white nationalism, McCrory, in a cynical display of whataboutism, expressed that “the Left” was just as violent as right-wing white nationalist groups and cited his personal experience with anti-HB2 protesters to back up this claim.

The next day on his radio talk show, McCrory addressed his controversial Meet the Press claims. He doubled down on his accusations that “the Left” is just as dangerous as white supremacist terrorists, and claimed that antifa members, who McCrory alleges attacked his taxi following President Trump’s inauguration, “were like the Klan times two.” There was wide coverage of protesters heckling McCrory at the inauguration over his involvement in the discriminatory HB2 bathroom bill, but no reports that protesters were members of antifa. Furthermore, no mainstream media reports of the taxi attack exist. 

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UPDATED: S75 is a Millionaires Protection Act

Making the Middle Class Tax Shift Permanent 

S75 – The “Millionaires Protection Act” is meant to make Republican Politicians radical tax shift from those at the top to working families permanent 

The “Millionaires Protection Act” would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that locks in income tax rates that largely benefit the wealthy – over the last four years the average millionaire saved almost $15,000, while the average family saved only $6 (that’s SIX dollars) a year from the tax changes enacted by Republican politicians. 

  • While the income tax change may sound like a good deal, Raleigh politicians will look for other ways to raise taxes, and they’ll be left with sales taxes and fees that take a bigger bite out of the pockets of working families. What might seem saved in your paycheck you’ll more than pay back at the cash register.
  • How do we know they’ll raise sales taxes and fees – because that’s what they’ve been doing! Over the last three years Republicans have enacted three tax hikes on working families through news sales and service taxes and fees meaning you pay more to send a kid to college, put gas in your car and get it repaired, and even to keep the lights on at your home. 

In order to lock in these huge tax cuts for millionaires, Republican politicians will also be locking in current education funding that is lower per student than it was before the recession and causes North Carolina to be ranked 45th for teachers in the country.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance)

This installment of Real Facts NC’s legislator profile series focuses on Representative Dennis Riddell, a Republican from Snow Camp, N.C., in Alamance County. Riddell was first elected to the NC House in 2012, and is now in his third term having run unopposed in 2014 and 2016. Riddell’s bid for the House was hardly his first foray into the #ncpol scene. Riddell served as the Alamance County GOP Chair and was active with the Koch-funded NC Citizens for a Sound Economy in the early 2000s.

Riddell spends his time in the General Assembly continuing to advance the Koch's national conservative agenda. He supported corporate tax cuts at the expense of students and teachers, even afterpromising ABSS Board of Education members he would stop the NCGA from cutting TA positions. Riddell supports deregulation in favor of big businesses over protecting clean soil, air, and water for North Carolinians. Read more on him here

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New Court Documents Reveal Republican Establishment’s Plans to “Reinvent the Gerrymander” with focus on North Carolina

At the 2009 Republican Legislative Campaign Committee’s national meeting, Thomas Hofeller (yes, that name sounds familiar) presented the strategy Republicans would use to boost wins in 2010 and beyond, according to recently released court documents.

Hofeller’s June 2009 presentation, “2010 Redistricting: Preparing for Success,” explains why Republicans dominate the NCGA with a seemingly impenetrable super majority. The GOP’s strategy to “reinvent the gerrymander” was successful in North Carolina.

By December 2009 the presentation included the Republican State Leadership Committee’s plans to bankroll 2010 legislative races in North Carolina, $95,000 in the House and $234,000 in the Senate. Winning key races would allow RSLC to implement its REDMAP strategy across the U.S.

(Source: Greg Flynn; Salon)

The REDMAP plan gives key insight into how Republicans have maintained control of the N.C. General Assembly. Art Pope put forth his own money for REDMAP, and RSLC sent $1.25 million to Pope’s network to elect Republicans in 2010. Pope spent around $2.2 million to accomplish that goal. 

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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.

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Leaked internal documents detail conservative superfund's plans for North Carolina

The DNC wasn’t the only political operation hacked last year. The arch-conservative Bradley Foundation was also embarrassed by a data breach in 2016 that found some of its most sensitive documents posted publicly to the internet. Why does that matter in North Carolina?

The Bradley Foundation spent heavily supporting right-wing political organizations in the Tar Heel State.

The Bradley Foundation is a Wisconsin-based conservative funder worth nearly $900 million— as large as the three Koch family organizations combined. The foundation has expanded its focus from Wisconsin to key swing states such as North Carolina where it is funding conservative organizations focused on creating a "comprehensive communications infrastructure around four primary elements: radio, online content aggregation, mobile applications and an AP-style news service for local newspapers,” according to a leaked foundation memo. Groups include the John Locke Foundation, Civitas, and Carolina Plott Hound.

 

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