Art Pope has left the building

... and he did nothing to help his cause in doing so.

During a news conference held by the NC NAACP in Raleigh today, Art Pope came out of his office to tell his side of the story.

Barber and Pope exchanged words as Barber walked toward Pope's office to deliver a letter.

"We want to put a stop to the use of wealth to influence policies in a negative way," Barber said. "That's why it's not a boycott. It's a picket."

"If I gave to the North Carolina Justice Center and Democracy North Carolina instead of the John Locke Foundation, that would be OK?" Pope asked.

"It's the policies; it's not the giving," Barber responded.

At one point Mr. Pope stated that he'd done nothing "wrong or illegal" in contributing to political campaigns across our state, essentially buying himself majority influence in both houses of our legislature.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should, Mr. Pope. Everyone does NOT have $50 million dollars to pour into statewide politics. Therein lies the "wrongness" in Pope's willingness to spend, spend, spend any way he pleases. Money is not speech.

"Art Pope is the poster child for big money influence in our democracy," said Chris Kromm, executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies. "There are many donors and special interest groups vying for influence in this state, but there is no single person who has spent as much money or has orchestrated a political machine on the scale of Art Pope’s empire in North Carolina.

"That’s not an opinion – or as Art Pope may have you believe, a personal attack. It’s a fact," Kromm said. "Over the last decade, Pope has pumped nearly $50 million into his political machine."


What I wouldn't have given

to be present for that meeting.

Then again, it's probably for the best that I wasn't there.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Poor Mr. Pope

So misunderstood by so many.

He's correct about one thing. He has every right in the world to be the total asshole that he is.

I missed this quote the frist time through

...and it may well be the best one in the whole piece.

"Economics is ethics. How we use our money is a moral issue," Barber said. "There is a clear record of his intentional utilization of his money to manipulate the system and the political process in North Carolina in ways that can clearly be seen are counter to the principle of the good of the whole and counter to the principle of justice and fairness and equality for all."


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Buying acceptance

Pope had a short and undistinguished term in the North Carolina state legislature. Seen as an insufferable kook by the Republicans and getting no traction on any of his extremist ideas, he simply made up his mind to buy acceptance.

If you think about all the millions of dollars Pope has thrown at dark money smears against Democratic and moderate Republican candidates, the "stink" tanks and truth-twisting foundations, and outright purchase of a position in the McCrony administration, it's remarkable to think that it's all because the man got his feelings hurt.

Citizen Pope isn't feeling loved and misses his favorite sled, Rosebud.

I've dealt with people like Pope before - men and women with a great deal of wealth that surround themselves with sycophants, willing to tell them exactly what they want to hear if the money keeps flowing.

You want some "research" to prove a point, even if it's a pack of lies or twisting the truth to fit your agenda? They'll give it to you for a price.

You want some campaign ads out there looking like there's a groundswell of support for your crazy idea? Oh, and you don't want your name on it? Sure - give me a check.

You want to destroy the political career of that guy in the legislature that gave you a wedgie in a debate in the legislature twenty years ago? Sure ... how much you got?

It's really sad to think about all the millions Pope has wasted the past twenty years - millions that could have fed the hungry, built libraries or schools, or healed the sick - will go down as one man's folly.

In another twenty years, we won't be remembering what Art Pope gave of himself for others and what he did for North Carolina. He'll just be an old man that people point to on the street and say, "Wasn't he that crank that tried to buy the legislature?"

Fabulous comment

I think history will be a harsher judge than this, however. Buying the legislature was one thing, but the actual policies established under his regime are another more destructive thing altogether.