527 Watch: Truth Squad, Real Debate, Realtors

The Truth Squad is a 527 Political Committee set up by C. Stan Eury, head of the NC Growers Association, the nations's largest employer of legal migrant workers and the largest agricultural employer in NC. Its main purpose appears to be attacking Republican David Rouzer who is running for the State Senate seat being vacated by Fred Smith. The basis of the attack is Rouzer's support as a lobbyist for pending federal AgJobs legislation with immigration amnesty provisions. The campaign has spawned a blog: Rouzer: Amnesty Lobbyist Political Lies and a website: The Truth Squad NC

Real Debate.org, Inc. is a 527 Political Committee set up by State Senator Fletcher Hartsell and State Representative Jeff Barnhart of Cabarrus County along with millionaire Fred Eshelman head of Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc. a Wilmington company with over 10,000 employees in 30 countries that manages clinical trials for pharmaceuticals, biotech and medical devices. Eshelman has donated $33 million to UNC Chapel Hill of which $20 million went towards the School of Pharmacy that bears his name. The 527 appears to be related to P.P.D., Inc. plans to create 300 jobs over the next three years at North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

In a previously unreported story, the National Association of Realtors 527 Fund was fined $78,000 by the Federal Election Commission in June of 2007. The enforcement action was precipitated by a 2004 complaint from a Mint Hill, NC resident about mailings from the North Carolina Association of Realtors supporting Richard Burr's US Senate bid. The 527 Fund failed to register and file disclosure reports as a Federal political committee and accepted contributions in violation of Federal limits and source prohibitions. In total the NAR 527 Fund spent $2.8 million advocating the election of 9 federal candidates in 2004 including $282,500 spent on the Burr campaign. This was in addition to $3.75 million NAR's political action committee RPAC spent on federal candidates in the 2004 cycle with $578,750 in independent expenditures on the Burr campaign.

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