The 1%

Here’s how the 1% bought 100% of the NC General Assembly:


The Money
There are deep pockets behind the ultra-conservative movement in North Carolina — with most of the money coming from a single man, Art Pope. Pope is an arch-conservative and North Carolina politico with vast personal wealth.  Over the last decade Pope has pumped tens of millions of dollars into conservative causes, campaigns and think-tanks — effectively bankrolling the entire conservative establishment.

In 2010, three groups backed by Pope — Americans for Prosperity, Civitas Action and Real Jobs NC — spent 75% of the outside money that flooded into two dozen North Carolina legislative races. Combined with the $252,000 Pope family members spent supporting Republicans in those races, Art Pope fueled the right-wing takeover of the North Carolina General Assembly.

Pope’s fortune comes from his inherited family business, the discount retail chain Variety Wholesalers, Inc., which owns Maxway and Roses and several other smaller stores. In locating its stores, Variety Wholesalers targets areas where the median household income is $40,000 or less and with a minimum 25% African-American population within five miles.

For more information about Art Pope, visit

The Network
Art Pope’s money has helped develop a network of right-wing think tanks, media outlets, legal experts and political operatives that help train, encourage and sustain the conservative movement in North Carolina. Most Republican state legislators are connected to the Pope empire in some form or another.

The Pope Network:

(Source: See:

Ideas from the 1%
Pope is not the only major influence of the right-wing majority of the NC General Assembly. The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has its tentacles all over the NC General Assembly.

ALEC is an organization that allows corporations behind closed doors to give state legislators around the country model legislation that would help that would directly benefit their bottom lines. ALEC’s backers include AT&T, Altria, ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, PhRMA and Wal-Mart.

ALEC legislation showed up in the NC General Assembly this year in bills ranging from environmental regulation, tort reform, voting rights and a bill to help cable companies secure their internet provider monopoly.

According to WRAL: “ALEC came to Raleigh on March 22, 2011, to offer NC lawmakers a ‘boot camp’ on tort reform. The following day, a product liability reform bill was filed that appeared to be taken straight from ALEC’s model legislation.”

North Carolina was so dutiful in enacting ALEC legislation that Speaker Thom Tillis received ALEC’s “Legislator of the Year” award at their annual conference in New Orleans. Tillis was joined in New Orleans by more than 30 NC lawmakers.

For more information, visit


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