Published in National Review Online August 12, 2021.
Jane Mayer’s Conspiracy Theory of Lies
By ART POPE & RICK GRABER
August 12, 2021 6:30 AM
Here we go again.Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money, purports to expose another plot by the Right to take over American politics and governance. This time, the so-called “dark money” trail leads to The Bradley Foundation, a private grant-making organization that we lead as chair and president.
Mayer paints a story in The New Yorker that The Bradley Foundation is orchestrating and funding an “aggressive assault on democracy” by sowing doubt about the 2020 election results, paving the way for state legislatures to restrict voting laws, and laying the groundwork to challenge future election results.
In her piece and subsequent media interviews, she states that “since 2012, the foundation has spent some eighteen million dollars supporting eleven conservative groups involved in election issues.” Using this number is designed to mislead readers. Mayer appears to include all funding to a grantee even if election issues play a relatively small role in their work.
In addition, the Foundation does not make “dark money” grants. All grants are publicly disclosed on a quarterly basis.
It’s also absurd to suggest that the Foundation started making election-related grants in 2012 somehow knowing there would be a presidential election in 2020 with one candidate making allegations of fraud, as if we had a crystal ball. Bradley’s grants can never be used for political purposes — much less to overturn elections. All grants are made to nonprofits that are required to meet IRS guidelines that prevent them from engaging in political activity.
What does The Bradley Foundation fund with its grants?
In 2020, Bradley gave only $500,000 in grants to groups doing election-integrity work, all of which is routinely disclosed. It’s a significant sum, but nowhere near Mayer’s invented figure.
It pales in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars some groups on the left poured into election issues. It’s also small compared with the more than $10 million we gave to local arts, education, and community groups during that same period.
This giving is in keeping with our longtime mission to advance the principles of a free and vibrant society, and in turn preserve our constitutional democracy. We support efforts that encourage voter participation and give Americans the confidence that their votes matter.
Unfortunately, Mayer is not alone in perpetuating a false and dishonest media narrative that fuels greater distrust. In an era of cancel culture, even questioning whether the election system can be improved gets one labeled “conspiracy theorist.”
There are many genuine and valid reasons to want to ensure the integrity of elections.
The right to vote for candidates whose ideals best represent one’s own is a bedrock of the American experiment. Fair elections at every level, whether for school board, state representative, or U.S. president, are integral to the preservation of our republic. If our election system has integrity, we continue to have faith in the democratic process, regardless of who wins or loses an election.
Currently, concerns about election integrity are bipartisan and nationwide. According to a recent poll, only 55 percent of Democrats say they “completely trust” the election process. Clearly, there is work to be done to restore confidence.
It is reasonable for every election to go through a postmortem about what can be improved, but last year’s election merited even greater scrutiny. The pandemic and an increasingly polarized electorate guaranteed that 2020 would be an unprecedented election year.
And that it was.
Nearly half of voters cast a ballot by mail or absentee. Compare that with 2016, when only about a quarter of votes were cast by mail. Or the widespread ballot harvesting that occurred, which opens the door for activists on both sides of the aisle to tamper with or throw out someone’s ballot. Or the hundreds of millions of dollars from the Center for Tech and Civic Life that were given to the country’s most populous cities, which overwhelmingly vote left.
To be clear, questioning and assessing whether there are vulnerabilities within the election system is not equivalent to saying there’s rampant voter fraud or that the election was rigged. Rather, it’s a recognition that changing voting rules can — and have in previous elections — lead to numerous problems. Lost ballots, stolen ballots, and ballots sent to outdated voter rolls are all issues with common-sense solutions that still make it easy for people to vote.
As citizens of this exceptional country, our goal should be to have an election system that encourages voter participation, ensures that each person’s vote counts, and instills faith in the process. Sadly, Ms. Mayer’s inflamed and inaccurate reporting makes achieving that goal much more difficult.
Art Pope is Chair of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Rick Graber is President and CEO of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.
The Triangle Business Journal highlighted the John William Pope Foundation’s $10,000 grant to help the Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina provide foster parent training in Wake County.
Triangle Business Journal, Philanthropy & Nonprofits, January 21, 2021
The John William Pope Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to help the Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina provide foster parent training in Wake County.
“We are truly grateful to receive this grant that will support our foster care program,” said B&GH President and CEO Ricky Creech. “This grant will support our continued growth in this area, enabling us to provide even more children with an environment of care where health, healing and hope are experienced every day.
These funds will specifically provide facilities in Wake County to conduct initial and recurring foster parent training and certification along with CPR manikins and training spaces.
“Wake County has the second-highest number of children in the North Carolina foster care system,” said B&GH Chief Program Officer Donna Yalch. “This funding will allow us to certify more parents, creating more safe and welcoming homes for children in need of care.”
While B&GH has been training parents in Wake County for several years, the challenges of the pandemic have complicated the process, officials said, making this grant even more important.
Read more local nonprofit briefs here: https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2021/01/21/new-year-new-thinking-for-charitable-giving.html
Published by The Salisbury Post – Monday, December 11, 2020
Two think tanks — both nurtured and sustained financially over the years by the family of longtime conservative political donor Art Pope — are merging.
The John Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute announced on Thursday that they’ll unite under the Locke Foundation name starting Jan. 1. The John Locke Foundation began in 1990, while Civitas started in 2005.
Amy Cooke will remain the Locke Foundation’s CEO and publisher of the Carolina Journal news website and newspaper. Civitas Institute head Donald Bryson will become foundation president and its chief strategy officer.
“We have created an unmatched powerhouse for economic opportunity and conservative values in North Carolina and in the Southeast,” Cooke said in a news release.
Both groups have received funds routinely from the John William Pope Foundation, of which Art Pope is chairman. Art Pope leads Variety Wholesalers Inc., which operates Roses and Maxway discount retail stores. Pope served in the state legislature and was then-Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget director.
Civitas Action, a political education arm of Civitas Institute, will remain in place as a separate sister organization, the release said.
IHS President Emily Chamlee-Wright, incoming Chairman Art Pope, and Chairman Emeritus Charles Koch
Institute for Human Studies at George Mason University, Fall 2019
IHS President Emily Chamlee-Wright is pleased to announce that James Arthur Pope is the newly appointed Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Humane Studies, succeeding Charles G. Koch. “We are forever indebted to Charles for his longtime leadership of IHS,” says Emily, “knowing that we would not be where we are today without the benefit of his guiding vision and direction. And it is of immense value to staff and supporters alike that we can continue to lean on Charles’ wisdom and experience in the years ahead as Chairman Emeritus.” Charles Koch’s relationship with IHS began in 1964 when IHS President F.A. “Baldy” Harper recruited him to help develop the Institute, which Baldy founded in 1961. Charles agreed to join forces to create an organization that would support talented scholars and students interested in the principles of a free society.
The Institute for Humane Studies now transitions into the capable hands of another champion of freedom. A member of the Board of Directors since 1987, Art Pope will assume the role of Chairman. His connections to IHS also run deep, all the way back to his law school days at Duke University. A native of North Carolina, Art is an extraordinary businessman and philanthropic leader. He is Chairman and CEO of Variety Wholesalers, a family-held business that now includes 380 retail discount stores in the Southeast and employs over 7,000 people. Art also serves as Chairman of both the John William Pope Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. As we join with our supporters and friends in looking ahead to an exciting new chapter for IHS, it is worth recalling Charles Koch’s eloquent commentary on the Institute for Humane Studies:
IHS has a special and incredibly important position in the struggle for freedom and opportunity for all—working to ensure that the principles of a free society have a strong voice at America’s colleges and universities. This work is fundamental to everything else that must be done to turn our country around.
Read more from IHS here: https://theihs.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Newsletter-Fall2019_Final.pdf
UNC-Chapel Hill trustees honor three with prestigious Davie Awards
Established by the trustees in 1984, the William Richardson Davie Award recognizes extraordinary service to the University or society.
From UNC-Chapel Hill News: University Communications, Thursday, November 21st, 2019
On Nov. 19, Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees presented the board’s highest honor to three individuals who exemplify dedication, commitment and service to the University.
The three recipients of the 2019 William Richardson Davie Award are Kel Landis III of Raleigh, James Arthur “Art” Pope of Raleigh and Teresa Holland Williams of Huntersville.
Established by the trustees in 1984, the William Richardson Davie Award was named for the Revolutionary War hero who introduced and won passage of a 1789 bill in the General Assembly to charter the University of North Carolina. Named for the man considered the father of UNC-Chapel Hill, the William Richardson Davie Award recognizes extraordinary service to the University or society.
Kel Landis III ’79, ’82 (MBA) earned a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Carolina. He served as a University trustee from 2012 to 2013, as chair of the UNC Board of Visitors and as a member of the UNC Foundation’s Board of Directors. He was an adjunct professor of finance at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, chaired the school’s board of advisors and served as a trustee for the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise. A former CEO of RBC Centura Bank, Landis served as senior advisor for business and economic affairs for North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley. Landis’ philanthropic support of the University spans across campus, including Kenan-Flagler Business School, student financial aid and research initiatives in the UNC School of Medicine. His contributions to public higher education in the state extend beyond Carolina: he is a trustee of Elizabeth City State University. He is a board member for the North Carolina Community Foundation, which provides support for community foundations across the state. Landis currently serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for the Medical Foundation of North Carolina. Landis is a co-founder and active in Plexus Capital, the largest privately-held small business investment company fund complex in the U.S. Plexus makes investments across the country, having invested over $1 billion in small to medium-sized businesses for growth capital.
James Arthur “Art” Pope ’78 earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from UNC-Chapel Hill and also holds a law degree from Duke University. He served as special counsel to North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin and as the state budget director. Pope was elected to four terms as a North Carolina state representative. He is chairman of the John William Pope Foundation, which he co-founded with his late father, John. To date, the foundation has given more than $170 million to support public policy, education, arts and humanitarian nonprofit efforts. In 2018, the foundation committed $10 million to UNC-Chapel Hill for the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program in the College of Arts & Sciences; men’s and women’s track-and-field scholarships; and a research study at UNC Horizons designed to help more women and children break the cycle of addiction and poverty. He currently chairs the board of directors for both the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. He is chairman and owner of Variety Wholesales, Inc., and its Roses Stores. The company employs more than 7,000 people and serves millions of customers in over 360 communities.
Teresa Holland Williams ’77 earned her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology from Carolina and chaired the GAA’s Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees for Western Carolina University. Williams also served on the Board of Education for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Previously, she served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History. She was awarded the UNC General Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Her other honors include the Western Carolina University Distinguished Service Award, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Volunteer of the Year Award and the Chapel Hill Service League Lifetime Membership Award. She is a founding member of the GAA’s Light on the Hill Society, which funds scholarships to support academically gifted African American students attending Carolina. Williams currently serves as a Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Board of Visitors member. She promotes public higher education across the state as a member of the Board of Directors for Higher Education Works, a bipartisan organization that advocates for investment in North Carolina’s public universities and community colleges by building support among citizens and engaging leaders.