News & Updates
Check back for regular updates on Art Pope’s presence in the news.
The editorial page of the Raleigh News & Observer writes that Deputy Budget Director Art Pope raised “proper questions” about the University of North Carolina system’s proposed $2.8 billion budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year:
A stern cautionary note from state budget director Art Pope to the University of North Carolina system comes down to this: This is my second memo about the state budget. You guys must not have gotten the first one.
Pope has sent UNC system officials back to the budget drawing board, and because he is viewed as the top adviser to Gov. Pat McCrory and the most influential person in the executive branch, the message will be received.
Pope told university officials in a Feb. 28 memo that they’re asking for too much money. He noted that to satisfy the university system’s request for a budget increase of $288 million, or 11.3 percent, the state would have to make “major reductions” in other agencies, including the court system and public schools. He noted the state also has a major obligation with Medicaid, the health care system for the poor and disabled.
The university system is seeking the money as the legislature readies to convene this spring to adjust the second year of its two-year budget.
[It's] fair and appropriate for Pope to question the UNC system’s budget request. Peter Hans, chairman of the UNC system’s Board of Governors, gave exactly the right response in saying he and the board “welcome tough questions about how the university proposes to spend public dollars.” He said Pope was “doing what taxpayers should expect him to do.”
David W. Riggs, Executive Vice President of the John William Pope Foundation, made this statement in response to a recent documentary by Bill Moyers:
Bill Moyers, through Moyers & Company, recently released a documentary titled “State of Conflict: North Carolina.” Broadcast through the PBS network on Jan. 3, the one-hour program falsely portrayed the charitable work of the John William Pope Foundation and of our Chairman and President, Art Pope.
“State of Conflict: North Carolina” repeated the false claim that Art Pope and the Pope Foundation “bought” the state of North Carolina, mostly through giving to public policy nonprofits that advocate for common sense free-market reforms. Mr. Moyers presented nothing new in his documentary — in fact, he’s late to the party. Many left-wing operatives have hurled similar accusations for years. The claims have never stuck because they are entirely false.
But Mr. Moyers doesn’t merely repeat a falsehood. Worse, he conceals the fact that the Pope Foundation is not the largest grantor to public policy groups in North Carolina. While the Pope Foundation gives around $5 million to conservative, free-market organizations in North Carolina each year, that number pales in comparison to the $11 million given annually by left-wing foundations to progressive groups in the Tar Heel State.
In 2011 alone, three progressive foundations gave generously to left-of-center, liberal groups in North Carolina: The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation ($9.2 million in grants), the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation ($614,000 in grants), and the A.J. Fletcher Foundation ($968,000 in grants).
If North Carolina can indeed be bought, as Mr. Moyers and his allies claim, then shouldn’t it go to the highest bidder, the side that spent the most money?
Click here to read the rest.
The Daily Dispatch, based out of Henderson, N.C., yesterday reported on the Pope Foundation’s $35,000 in grants to food pantries in Vance County. The grants were part of a larger $185,000 given by the Pope Foundation in October to humanitarian charities.
LifeLine Outreach Inc., a nonprofit based in Vance County that alleviates homelessness
and assists women and children in crisis. (Photo credit: Daily Dispatch)
The Dispatch reported:
Local non-profits and faith-based organizations took a hit when the federal government closed for 16 days.
The John William Pope Foundation made its yearly donations to Vance County charities a few months early this year to help offset the impact of the shutdown.
“We heard on the ground that the federal government shutdown was having an effect on these charities doing this humanitarian work and what we decided to do was to expedite our end of the year funding to cover the shortfall caused by the shutdown,” said David Riggs of the Pope Foundation.
The foundation is a private family foundation focused on humanitarian charities in Wake and Vance counties.
The foundation donated $5,000 to Area Christians Together in Service, $10,000 to Life Line Outreach Inc. and $20,000 to the United Way of Vance County.
Twanna Jones, executive director of ACTS, said her organization has not received a Pope Foundation grant in the past.
“They heard about the great work that we were doing in the Vance County community,” Jones said.
ACTS provides a daily soup kitchen on weekdays, a food pantry, backpack buddies, and Meals on Wheels for the disabled and elderly.
Jones has plans to expand her operation with a mobile feeding program that supplies meals to all areas of need.
She said the grant money would help with the expansion as well as day-to-day operations.
“My goal is to have a seven-day a week soup kitchen that feeds twice a day,” Jones said.
For the first time this year, ACTS will serve lunch on Thanksgiving Day from 10 a.m. to noon.
(Note: A subscription is needed to view the entire article, but there is no cost.)
Responding to false statements recently made in a syndicated column, Pope Foundation Executive Vice President David Riggs corrected the record in this letter to the editor in The News & Observer:
The Aug. 20 Other Opinion piece “The massacre of the N.C. model” by Bloomberg’s Al Hunt contained false statements about Art Pope and the John William Pope Foundation.
Hunt wrote, “Pope has given to the Republican Party through his political action committee, foundations and personal contributions.” This is unequivocally false. Art Pope is a proud Republican, but he does not have his own political action committee. His personal contributions to the Republican Party do not come close to $1 million, even over his lifetime.
The Pope Foundation, a charitable organization, has never contributed anything to the Republican Party. By reprinting Hunt’s false statement that the Pope Foundation contributed to the Republican Party, you falsely accused the foundation of a major violation of the IRS Code and campaign finance laws.
The Pope Foundation has given millions of dollars to charities, including humanitarian, arts, education and public policy nonprofits. Humanitarian charity helps those in immediate need, treating the symptoms of poverty. The Pope Foundation’s support for public policy groups and those empowering individuals has the long-term goal of curing the underlying causes of poverty.
Publishing the false and defamatory statement that the Pope Foundation gives to the Republican Party was a disservice both to your readers and to the charities supported by the Pope Foundation.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, JOHN WILLIAM POPE FOUNDATION
In response to a June 15 editorial in the Raleigh News & Observer, Art Pope contributed this letter to the editor:
Contrary to The News & Observer’s over-the-top editorial, “Democracy undone,” on June 15, democracy worked in regard to ending a program to give public dollars to political campaigns.
As state budget director, I was asked in a joint conversation with a legislator and a liberal lobbyist for Common Cause about an amendment to the budget bill to use a fee on attorneys to finance judicial political campaigns. As have all state budget directors, under Republican and Democratic governors, I supported the governor’s budget and explained that the North Carolina courts have held using compulsory attorney fees for political campaigns to be unconstitutional, since such a law “compels political speech and violates their guarantees of free speech in the United States and North Carolina Constitutions.” (El-Khouri et al. v. State of North Carolina et al.)
The News & Observer called this routine event “scary,” repeating almost verbatim an attack by Chris Kromm, of the Institute for Southern Studies. What Common Cause and Kromm have in common is that they are members of the left-wing Blueprint NC coalition. Blueprint NC and its progressive allies have no interest in a reasoned debate and instead have launched a campaign to “eviscerate” and “cripple” elected Republican leaders, including using – in their words – relentless earned media efforts: operatives with relationships to statewide media; private investigators and investigative reporting; and an op-ed program.
Enter The News & Observer as the “statewide media” carrying out Blueprint NC’s attacks. The News & Observer tried to further justify its attack on me because, heaven forbid, I am also a donor to Republicans and conservative organizations. This attack is particularly hypocritical, given that Blueprint NC and its major members receive millions of dollars from the liberal Reynolds Foundation, run by former Democratic state Sen. Leslie Winner, with numerous Democratic Party donors and activists on its board.
Their attack also conveniently left out my longtime record as a former legislator for bipartisan judicial reform by ending the election of judges entirely and replacing it with appointment by the governor and confirmation by the legislature, when there was Democratic legislative majority.
The News & Observer repeating unfounded attacks by Blueprint NC members to eviscerate our elected government and shut down those they disagree with, is truly democracy undone.