Sunday, May 29, 2016

Art Pope and other funders of HB2 legislators cry uncle

Hat Tip Fec; A Bill Too Far
Art Pope's money helped create North Carolina's 'bathroom bill'

"A former North Carolina governor and a former lieutenant governor are poised to lead a bipartisan search for a possible compromise on House Bill 2, the law that catapulted the state into a national debate over transgender rights.

The idea grew out of widespread discussions on how to break the impasse over the law, which according to one study has cost Mecklenburg County alone more than $285 million in lost economic activity.

The group would be led by Republican financier Art Pope, a former state budget director, and former Democratic Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker. Former Republican Gov. Jim Martin would be the honorary chairman.

As is often the case with conservative causes in North Carolina,
the money trail behind HB2 leads to Art Pope,
the millionaire CEO of a chain of discount stores who played a key role 
in financing the Republicans' 2010 takeover of the state legislature
through a network of super PACs he funded. 

“My sense is that there’s a public appetite for people to get together and talk about it rather than people just yelling across the chasm at each other,” said John Hood, president of Pope’s family foundation.

John Hood was all for HB2,
and now he's feeling the burn and compromising his principles
and the News and Record was too cowardly to call the foundation out on it

Hood and Pope are organizing the working group.

Those who funded the legislators who voted for the bill
now want to look like the good guys after they were the bad guys
which cost the state of North Carolina millions

They say it grew out of discussions over how to find a way out of a situation that has resulted in economic losses...

In 2011, the family foundation chaired by Art Pope 
funded groups that successfully pushed for an anti-gay marriage amendment 
to the North Carolina Constitution. 

In the 14 years leading up to the amendment's passage, 
the John W. Pope Foundation provided nearly $1 million to the N.C. Family Policy Council 
which had been advocating for the amendment since 2004, 
as well as additional funds to several other anti-LGBT rights groups.

The Raleigh Republicans are just two of the people who’ve been trying to find a solution to the impasse.“Lots of different people had the same thought, which is some kind of de-escalation, followed by discussion,” Hood said. “There were different versions of what that de-escalation looked like.”

One version, which followed meetings with some Charlotte City Council members and legislative leaders, involved a council vote to rescind the February ordinance that prompted the law.

The Pope Foundation's financial support of the N.C. Family Policy Council
has continued with six-figure donations in each of the past several years.

Its contributions to a related national group, 
the Family Research Council, continued through 2013. 

Both groups support HB2, 
and the NCFPC is a leader in the campaign to defend it.

Since 1997, the Pope Foundation has contributed a total of nearly $1.5 million 
to anti-LGBT rights organizations that actively support HB2.

Republican lawmakers responded with HB2, which nullified the Charlotte ordinance and limited discrimination claims, among other measures.

Pope's political money network played a pivotal role 
in electing many of the legislators who sponsored and voted for HB2, 
as well as McCrory, who signed it.

Pope did not respond to a request for comment.

...Pope said he was more confident of a compromise last week than he is now. He said the idea of a working group has “a lot of buy-in” from both sides.

Hood, former president of the [Pope funded] conservative John Locke Foundation, said one reason is the need for trust...

N.C. Family Policy Council (NCFPC) president John Rustin 
sent a letter to Republican leaders urging them to hold a special session 
to repeal the Charlotte ordinance that triggered the controversy, 
and NCFPC held a press conference on the matter.

“The reasoning given in Charlotte … is ‘We don’t trust them,’ and what you hear from the legislature and to some extent the McCrory administration is, ‘We don’t trust them.’ So one reason to have a conversation … is to air out differences. Another reason is just to build trust.”

The NCFPC is not the only anti-LGBT rights organization the Pope Foundation funds. 

From 1997 to 2013 the foundation gave $115,000 to the Family Research Council (FRC),
deemed an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Hood said organizers are looking at a core group of 16 members representing local governments and people on various sides of the divide. The tentative name: the FAIR working group, for Facility Access Inclusion and Respect.

The Pope Foundation donated $6,000 between 2004 and 2007 
to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF, formerly known as Alliance Defense Fund),
a global network of over 3,000 lawyers that claims to fight for "religious freedom,
the sanctity of life, and marriage and family." 

The group's president and CEO, Alan Sears, co-authored a book 
called "The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Liberty Today,"
and ADF lawyers have described gay sex as "a distinct public health problem,"
among many other anti-LGBT statements. 

ADF has also helped change laws in Africa 
to persecute and imprison LGBT people.

“The faster we get people talking the better,” he said.

Lawmakers in many states have used nearly identical language [to ADF's]
in proposed discriminatory bathroom bills.

...North Carolina lawmakers appear to have lifted numerous phrases and sentences
from ADF's model legislation in crafting HB2.

...a super PAC founded by Pope spent nearly $2 million from 2010 to 2014
helping elect five of HB2's sponsors, 13 other lawmakers who voted for it,
and McCrory, who signed it.

The John Locke Foundation, another think tank founded and funded primarily by Pope,

has also expressed support for the law.  

Sam Heib, contributing editor for its Carolina Journal, 

has written a number of blog posts backing the law while Becki Gray, 
the group's vice president for outreach, also wrote about her support for it.

4/15/16; Still no big money for McCrory and friends since HB2; Click on the links to see what has happened since

Phil Berger, Paul Stam, Chad Barefoot, Trudy Wade, John Faircloth, 
Jon Hardister, John Blust, Roy Carroll and friends 
were on board with the strategy of using hate and screwing poor, old etc... workers
to get themselves and Pat McCrory reelected
and Roy and friends' employment costs to fall, thereby increasing their profits,
and Tony Wilkins is okay with it

By supporting Trudy Wade,
Roy Carroll appears to be saying he doesn't want any gays in downtown Greensboro
or anywhere near his properties
or living in his apartment complexes because they are gay or trans
and the News and Record didn't report it

“We didn’t see this coming,” Republican House member John Hardister told Triad City Beat." after voting for HB2, which Brian Cleary didn't mention in the article