Under the Dome

Groups spent $757k soliciting legislators

Nine groups spent $757,926 soliciting state legislators last year.

According to a compilation of reports filed with the N.C. Secretary of State, three-fourths of the money was spent by the Partnership for North Carolina's Future.

Launched in May of 2007, the group spent $588,441 advocating on growth issues such as open space, water and sewer needs, traffic congestion and housing.

Solicitation is different from lobbying in that it seeks to connect members of the public with lawmakers to influence their votes using such things as Web sites and direct-mail campaigns.

Major spenders included groups that work on growth issues.

The Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County, an industry group, spent $71,340 on solicitation. N.C. Go, which works on transportation issues, spent $32,927. The N.C. Homeowners Alliance, which opposed the transfer tax, spent $19,554.

The remaining groups worked on a variety of issues.

The Coalition for Persons Disabled by Mental Illness spent $19,698. The Alliance for Digital Equality, which advocates for minorities on telecommunications issues, spent $14,676. Dix 306, a group of business and community leaders advocating for the Dorothea Dix hospital property in Raleigh to become a major urban park, spent $8,068.

And Return America, a Judeo-Christian group that opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, spent $3,219.

Other groups may also have spent money. Under state law, advocacy groups only have to file solicitation reports if they spend more than $3,000 on it in a 90-day period.

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