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Unlike politicians, Real Jobs acted quickly to return sweepstakes money

It didn't take long for Real Jobs NC, a political committee focused on electing Republican lawmakers, to relinquish money from an indicted sweepstakes company owner. VS2 donated $4,000 to the committee Oct. 1 and an owners of the company, Phillip Cornick, gave another $20,000 on the same date.

But unlike lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory, the committee quickly returned the contribution because Real Jobs officials realized the company and Cornick were indicted six months earlier in Ohio. The return checks were sent Oct. 18 and 19, according to Roger Knight, the committee's attorney.

Earlier this week, McCrory gave back the $2,000 check he received from the wife of a VS2 official. Other state lawmakers have yet to say what they will do.

Outside spending more even this election, preliminary reports suggest

Spending by third-party groups in North Carolina legislative races appears to have been more even than in the previous election cycle, even as Republicans dominated individual and caucus fundraising, Scott Mooneyham at The Insider reports.

IRS documents and state campaign finance reports seem to indicate that the spending by the two major 527 groups in North Carolina -- Real Jobs NC, which backed Republican candidates, and Common Sense Matters, which backed Democratic candidates, spent similar amounts. Those reports show Real Jobs NC spending $812,605, compared to $773,641 for Common Sense Matters.

More money from Pope to support GOP

The Institute of Southern Studies has upped its accounting of the money spent by conservative businessman Art Pope on this year's legislative campaigns to $2.2 million.

The left-leaning group released an analysis Monday attempting to total what was spent by Pope and members of his family to boost GOP candidates in 21 legislative districts. A day later, the group issued a revised report, saying it had underestimated Pope's contributions by about $900,000.

A copy of the group's revised report, which includes a table showing the spending by district, is attached.

Pope Spending.pdf

What Art Pope's money paid for

The left-leaning Institute for Southern Studies has released a post-election anaylsis disecting the impact of the more than $1.3 million spent by Art Pope and members of his family boosting GOP candidates for the state legislature.

According to the group's analysis of state and federal campaign records, three independent groups backed by Art Pope — Americans for Prosperity, Civitas Action and Real Jobs NC — poured $1.1 million into 21 state legislative races targeted by Republicans. Art Pope and his family members injected another $232,000 into those races, for a total of over $1.3 million spent on the targeted state contests.

Together, the three groups linked to Pope focused their resources on 21 state contests that were a top priority for Republicans. Some Democrats were targeted by just one of three outside advocacy groups; 12 were attacked by two or more. Five unlucky Democrats were barraged by attacks from all three.

Republicans won 18 of the 21 races in districts targeted by the spending. Democrats decisively won just one contest; in two others — senate districts 44 and 45 — Democrats are clinging to leads of less than 100 votes.

Group targets Democratic lawmakers

An independent group associated with Raleigh businessman Art Pope has begun early mailings targeting Democratic legislators.

A group called Real Jobs NC has in recent days sent mailers into the House districts of Majority Leader Hugh Holliman of Lexington, Cullie Tarleton of Blowing Rock, Alice Underhill of New Bern, Chris Heagarty of Raleigh and senators Don Davis of Snow Hill, Tony Foriest of Graham, Steve Goss of Boone, John Snow of Murphy and Joe Sam Queen of Waynesville, according to the state Democratic Party, reports Rob Christensen.

The mailer accuses the lawmakers of having “voted to raise taxes over a billion dollars to pay for their pork spending projects.”  The flyer is illustrated with photographs of a table cloth, barbecue sauce and utensils.

The mailer missed its mark in the case of Heagarty, who was not in the legislature in 2009 when the tax increase passed.

Heagarty's campaign called the ad “dishonest and desperate” and said it was looking into legal action against the group.

“The voters need an explicit correction of the mistake, a real one and not just one more attack ad, and an apology from this special interest group for misleading them,” said Mike Radionchenko, Heagarty's campaign manager.

Roger Knight, an attorney for the Real Jobs NC, said the flyer sent into Heagerty's district had the wrong citation when it cited the 2009 vote.

“The citation was wrong,” Knight said. “Real Jobs NC will clarify the issue in future mailings.”

The group is a so-called 527 organization, named after a section of the federal tax code. Among its officers are Pope, a former state House member and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, who has been active in funding a number of conservative organizations in Raleigh.

According to campaign records, the group has received donations from $100,000 from Variety Wholesalers, Pope's company; $300,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee in Alexandria, Va., a group chaired by former national GOP chairman Ed Gillespie; and $100,000 from, a website started by Wilmington businessman Fred Eshelman.

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