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As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported yesterday, the executive director of the Pope-Civitas Institute, Francis DeLuca, has publicly apologized for last week’s blog post in which he criticized the the man who serves — technically anyway — as his chief funder’s boss (i.e. Gov. McCrory) for attending an event sponsored by minority economic development nonprofits. 

Among other things, DeLuca said that:

“In talking about the event the Governor attended, I painted with too broad a brush by implying that an elected official’s appearance at an event involving organizations that lobby for state funds is tantamount to cronyism.”

In short, DeLuca admits that, as his group has long had a tendency to do, he got carried away with his conservative rhetoric. Good for him.  Though imperfect and at times borderline incoherent (the apology features a new attack on N.C. Policy Watch for, it would seem, raising the issue of his initial attack in the first place) DeLuca deserves credit for admitting that he was wrong.

Now then, as long as he’s taken that important first step, here are just a few of several other things for which he should publicly apologize: Read More

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One of the more interesting developments on Right-Wing Avenue in recent weeks has been the emergence of some relatively gentle criticisms of Gov. McCrory. The Pope-Civitas Institute (which was, of course, founded by the Governor’s budget director), for example, has been featuring an article entitled “Tell Gov. McCrory to Enforce the Law” in which readers are encouraged to sign a petition urging the Guv to implement the new law to drug test public assistance applicants that he had made noises about not implementing.

Then last Tuesday, Pope-Civitas director Francis DeLuca authored a lengthy article in which he attacked McCrory for speaking at an event that also featured speakers from the Institute for Minority Economic Development (a group DeLuca derided for having worked with Rev. William Barber’s Historic Thousands of Jones Street Coalition). The article even highlighted the fact that Yolanda Stith, wife of McCrory chief of staff Thomas Stith, is a lobbyist on behalf of one of the conveners of the event.

Today, both articles appear to have all but vanished from the Pope-Civitas websites. Read More

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Lunch sandwichHere’s something to spur a little dyspepsia on the first day of a short work week: The General Assembly is back in Raleigh!  Yes, just six weeks or so after blowing town, the honorables are back for what will apparently be a two-day veto session. In case you’ve forgotten, the state Constitution (Article II, Section 22) requires an affirmative vote of three-fifths of those present and voting to override a gubernatorial veto and, at this point, it looks very much as if both the House and Senate will produce margins of this amount or greater on both bills at issue. In other words, it would appear that Governor McCrory’s September is about to get off to a start very much consistent with his extremely lousy August – a month so bad that it prompted his hometown newspaper to question his truthfulness.  

And speaking of important official events in Raleigh today, the State Board of Elections will convene at 1:00 to take up an appeal of a candidate challenge to Montravias King from Pasquotank County. Click here to watch the live feed from WRAL. The Board will also consider the appeals for one-stop alternate plans for 2013 municipal elections in Watauga and Pitt counties. Students and civic groups including NCPIRG, Common Cause, Ignite NC, NCSU Student Power Union, Democracy NC and Rock the Vote will be on hand to call on the Board to reverse recent decisions by local county boards of elections that make it harder for young people to vote.

And speaking of “must see” video, Read More

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Dallas Woodhouse2You may have trouble enduring all 50 minutes and 40 seconds, but today’s weird valedictory farewell by departing Americans for Prosperity director Dallas Woodhouse at the Locke Foundation’s “Shaftsbury Society” luncheon provides an interesting and, at times, surprisingly unfiltered window into just how closely coordinated the right-wing world of charitable 501 (c)(3)’s, (c)(4)’s and various explicitly partisan political and candidate-specific organizations really is. (Woodhouse is leaving AFP to become a campaign/political consultant).

Woodhouse addresses the matter (explicitly and implicitly) several times during the talk — most notably about a quarter of the way in when he explains that  conservative “accomplishments” of late in North Carolina are the result of “the efforts of our candidates, with the effort of our network here through the Locke Foundation, Civitas, the Pope Center for Higher Education, the Center for Constitutional Law, and Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Prosperity Foundation…” and then goes on to thank Art Pope for making it all possible.

To help complete the big, warm and fuzzy picture, the first question at the conclusion of the talk is posed by Woodhouse’s former colleague Jeff Mixon, now of the Governor’s office.

In short, those who watch this video will get a quick, powerful and sobering lesson about who it is that’s driving the policy and political agendas in North Carolina right now (and how, in their troubled worldview, they’re just getting started).

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This morning’s edition of the Greenville Daily Reflector included this excellent editorial:

“The men and women arrested each week during the “Moral Monday” protests at the Legislative Building know they will face charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and failure to disperse. Until recently, however, they could not expect that their name to land in an online database compiled by a right-wing advocacy group once funded by the state budget director.

The Civitas Institute, which maintains the listing on its website, is violating no law in compiling this public information and claims to be merely fighting back against the protesters’ message. But the organization’s connection to Art Pope, the conservative financier who Gov. Pat McCrory tapped to write the state budget, gives the database a more sinister overtone and makes the practice highly questionable.

As is now typical in Raleigh, a large crowd gathered on Monday night to decry the work of the Republican-led General Assembly. North Carolina Democrats and their supporters cannot halt legislation and therefore seek to offer a rhetorical counterpoint through protest and civil disobedience.

This week marked the 10th event, dubbed by the organizing NAACP as “Moral Mondays.” What began in small numbers now draws thousands to the Legislative Building, and more than 600 have submitted to arrest as a result of their deliberate action. Though the courts will determine the legal ramifications, peaceable assembly and the right to petition one’s government are both protected by the First Amendment.

The Civitas Institute, a nonprofit organization backing conservative policies, has a vested interest in seeing these protests fail….”

Read the rest by clicking here.