By now fire fighters are well familiar on how the Koch Brothers used their money to influence Wisconsin politics by taking away collective bargaining rights and are now doing the same thing in Ohio. But here is a story of someone you may not have heard of using his money to push pro-business policies in North Carolina that will have big repercussions.
The New Yorker published an interesting piece on Art Pope a conservative multi-millionaire who is trying to change the political dialogue in North Carolina.
Pope regards the Koch Brothers as friends and serves on the board of the Americans for Prosperity.
He is also spending big bucks to help Republicans control state politics in North Carolina with the financial resources he has from his family owned private company and policy organizations.
Doesn’t this sound eerily similar to Charles and David Koch? The brothers have given millions of dollars to right-wing organizations and its political action committee has given out millions to candidates including governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Pope has been compared to the Koch brothers for his activist spending and for supporting similar causes.
Pope’s money helped Republicans take control of the state legislature in 2010 – the first time since 1870.
The Institute for Southern Studies found that three-quarters of the spending by independent groups in North Carolina’s 2010 state races were linked to Pope. Races backed by Pope and the groups he supported spent nearly $2.2 million. In all a North Carolina state watchdog group says Pope and his family have spent almost $40 million in the past decade to try to change state politics.
Why should we care about what Pope is doing in North Carolina?
North Carolina is considered a pivotal swing state for 2012 and is a part of a larger narrative of how a small group of businessmen in this country are using their power and wealth to take over the public discourse.
As the 2012 presidential election nears, we should expect to hear more about the behind-the-scenes operatives who influence political campaigns.
Our members and other public employees have to stand strong because the opposition is fierce and well-funded and are doing everything they can to take away our rights and benefits.
We can’t let them win.