Astroturf activists

Retirees wearing FreedomWorks t-shirts touting everything from property rights to personal savings accounts were bused into Raleigh Tuesday June 27th as astroturf activists to lobby for corporate and conservative issues. FreedomWorks, a merger of Dick Armey's Citizens for a Sound Economy and Jack Kemp's Empower America, positions itself as the right's answer to MoveOn.org. Last month FreedomWorks actually crashed a MoveOn press conference.

In the last few years FreedomWorks has teamed up with the John Locke Foundation for statewide tours. Speakers Tuesday included Chad Adams of the JLF, a FreedomWorks regular, hawking the "Tax Pledge".

Another speaker was Joyce Krawiec, described as NC Grassroots Coordinator for Freedom Works, is a Winston-Salem real estate developer, who recently started the NC branch of another up another corporate faux grassroots group called Consumers Alliance for Energy Security. Actually it should be called a "gasroots group" as it advocates for gas industry positions, notably, offshore drilling in NC waters.

FreedomWorks supports industry positions on a range of issues including net neutrality, cable franchising, offshore drilling along with the usual right-wing bullets and the mantra of less government and lower taxes.

The FreedomWorks NC website lists just two related websites: The John Locke Foundation and the Progress and Freedom Foundation, another corporate apologist.

Common Cause lists FreedomWorks and the Progress and Freedom Foundation as Wolves in Sheep's Clothing:
Telecom Industry Front Groups and Astroturf

Curiously the John Locke Foundation has joined Common Cause in the NC Coalition for Lobbying Reform but has not disavowed the activities of FreedomWorks.

Comments

The plot sickens

PopeCo is like a cancer, expanding insidiously and quietly, killing off democracy in favor of oligarchy and corporate interests. Thanks for the digging on this.

Frontpaged.

The black helicopter conspiracy is quite good ...

Except that FreedomWorks isn't an Art Pope supported (nor endorsed) entity and it is comprised of hundreds of grassroots activists throughout North Carolina. Several reside in your very own County of Orange (Democrats and Republicans).

Look out for astroturf grass stains this November with the District Representation referendum.

Conspiracy

Ah glasshoppah. Just because YOU don't have the secret handshake doesn't mean it's not part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. In fact, it wouldn't be a conspiracy at all if everyone knew about it, right? Especially a person who immediately thinks 'black helicopter' when a blogger says PopeCo.

District representation?

Formation flying

JLF coordinates with other right-wing organizations through the State Policy Network.

The NC directory listing:

SPN Members
John Locke Foundation

SPN Associate Members
Americans for Prosperity - North Carolina
FreedomWorks - North Carolina
Progress & Freedom Foundation

Other Organizations
Jesse Helms Center
North Carolina Forum for Research and Economic Education

Pope lives eternal

There are two organizations housed at
2000 North 14th Street, Suite 550
Arlington, VA 22201

The State Policy Network and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. James Arthur Pope is listed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

SPN and Atlas are closely linked. In fact the SPN "Think Tank Toolkit" is literally the Atlas "Think Tank Toolkit". SPN evolved from the Madison Group in the 1990's while Atlas was a member of the Madison Group. Atlas is focused on a global network of conservative think tanks, the SPN focus is domestic. Many think tanks started with the help of Atlas are now members of SPN. In June 2005, SPN and Atlas co-hosted a TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights) summit. FreedomWorks and Americans for Tax Reform attended.

The Atlas' 2004 Year in Review described "The Atlas - State Policy Network Partnership" in an article of the same name. Atlas partners with SPN for the "common goal of identifying, cultivating and mobilizing think tank leaders".

In 1996 James Arthur Pope was listed as a member of the Board of Directors of Citizens for a Sound Economy, now FreedomWorks. FreedomWorks is an associate member of SPN

James Arthur Pope has been listed as a member of the Board of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University which supposed acts as a libertarian talent scout. In 1995 the IHS was located in the same building as Atlas. John Hood is an IHS alumnus.

James Arthur Pope has been listed as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Conservative Union. ACU is listed by SPN as an "Other Organization". Another listed ACU Board member is Grover Norquist whose "Americans for Tax Reform" laundered casino money from Jack Abramoff for Ralph Reed.

Greg, you're amazing

Do you just walk around knowing this stuff?

Just connecting the dots

Though I have been accused of reading the phone book for pleasure and am currently reading "The Know-It-All : One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World " by AJ Jacobs.

Here's a couple of additions to the Pope resume I overlooked:
Pope is listed on the Board of the Fund for American Studies and the Board of Americans for Prosperity and both are listed SPN associate members.

The N&O previously mentioned Pope's funding of Americans for Prosperity which has a North Carolina office which coordinates with JLF and Civitas on NC issues such as the State Budget under the guise of "non-partisan grassroots"

As an aside, Heather Royster, who is a registered agent of Pope's Republican Legislative Majority, as previously mentioned by Anglico, is actually a Variety Wholesalers staff attorney and was previously a staff attorney for the now-defunct NC branch of the Institute of Justice before being hired by Pope and running his NC Institute for Constitutional Law on an interim "voluntary" basis when it started up.

Puppets

are showing up all over the place these days. Between Sock Rats and Blust and Royster and Boylan and . . . well the list just goes on and on. They're all Lords and Ladies of the NCGOP Coven of Crazies, and they all dance to the Puppetmaster's tune. With the Richard Morgan take-down, Pope showed what happens to people who value the State North Carolina over the power of Puppetmaster.

Black helicopter Greg!

I love it when Puppets get caught with their strings showing! Good work.