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 Rightchange.com, a website started by Wilmington businessman Fred Eshelman.