An independent group running ads attacking Republican gubernatorial nominee Pat McCrory.
As a so-called "527" tax-exempt organization, the Alliance for North Carolina cannot run political ads for or against candidates, though it can run "issue ads" that are negative about a candidate.
The group was formed in May of 2006 as the Pioneer Majority to "communicate with the public on issues that relate to the election of a candidate for state or local office," according to forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Pioneer Majority received $45,000 from the Democratic Governors Association, another 527 group, in the 2006 elections. It spent the money on research and political consulting in the Oklahoma governor's race.
The group was renamed the Alliance for North Carolina on July 15, 2008. It registered a Web site two days later.
Its Raleigh address — 514 Daniels St. No. 134, Raleigh 27605 — is a Mail Boxes Etc. chain. A second address — 300 M St., Suite 1102, Washington, D.C. 20003 — is the law offices of Sandler, Reiff & Young.
The company listed its contact as Craig Varoga, cofounder of VRS Consulting and a former campaign manager for Gov. Tom Vilsack's presidential campaign.
In mid August, the group released an economic plan that mostly echoed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beverly Perdue's proposals.
The group ran five ads attacking McCrory:
* BEST WAY: In late July, it began airing a TV ad attacking McCrory's positions on community college, the minimum wage and a Charlotte City Council pay raise and encouraging voters to call McCrory. The group reserved $450,000 in air time for the first ad.
* MOVE: In mid August, the group began airing a second TV ad attacking McCrory on the minimum wage, Charlotte pay raises, perks for city officials and a trip to Paris. It spent $250,000 on the second ad, noting on a state form that the money came from the Service Employees International Union.
* RAISE: In late September, it aired a third ad that attacked McCrory over Charlotte's crime raise and pay raises for city police and firefighters.
* STAND UP: A fourth ad in mid-October linked McCrory to President Bush and criticized Charlotte's taxes.
* RESULT: A fifth ad in late October again linked McCrory to Bush, arguing he supported less regulation of big business.
According to the Arlington-based Campaign Media Analysis Group, the group spent nearly $2.4 million on TV ads attacking McCrory.
Money also came from two other 527 groups. The Democratic Governors Association gave $500,000 in financial backing to the Alliance and the National Education Association gave $250,000.
The group's spokesman is Scott Falmlen, a political consultant with Nexus Strategies in Raleigh.