OK, OK, so they didn't exactly call it the "Art Pope" bill, but I'm almost positive house members had him in mind when the new bill was pushed through on Wednesday. This comes from the Charlotte Observer/Associated Press.
Lawmakers took another strike against "527" groups in North Carolina, agreeing Wednesday to require the politically active organizations or individuals to reveal more information about how much money they give or spend.
A bill heading to Gov. Mike Easley would require groups or individuals that spend more than $10,000 in an election year on commercials, mailers or phone banks that identify a candidate to report their expenses to the State Board of Elections. Donors who contribute more than $1,000 also would be identified.
More below the fold...
I don't need to go into too much detail about Art Pope. Anglico has expertly covered Pope's power grab in posts you'll find listed under the tags Art Pope and Puppetmaster. His actions are currently under investigation by the State Board of Elections. Lawmakers certainly had him in mind.
"This bill is about honest(sic) and openness in government and disclosure," said House Speaker Pro Tempore Richard Morgan, R-Moore, before the House passed the new rules by a vote of 79-32. The Senate passed them last week.
Morgan and House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, have criticized a "527" group funded by the company operated by Art Pope, a former state House member from Raleigh. The Republican Legislative Majority Committee spent more (than)$188,000 during the first half of the year, most of it used to highlight the voting records of Morgan and four other Republicans on taxes, redistricting and a power-sharing arrangement with Democrats.
Morgan and Rep. Rick Eddins, R-Wake, were defeated in the May primary.
Some Republicans were up in arms over the new requirements and one in particular, Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, filed a formal complaint over the handling of the bill. So, why was John Blust so blustery over the new bill? Well, wouldn't you just know he's one of the Pope's puppets. As late as January 16, 2006, Blust served as contact person and custodian of Pope's 527, Republican Legislative Majority of North Carolina.
Gregflynn has done a great job of updating us on the efforts of our legislature to clean up their act on this thread.