Why is DC “dark” money sooooo interested in NC state court races?

The 2022 races for state court of appeals and state Supreme Court are drawing in record sums of out-of-state (mostly DC area) money for a three-member slate of NC GOP candidates: Trey Allen, Beth Freshwater Smith, and Michael Stading.  Campaign finance reports document that nearly $600,000 has made its way from a mysterious DC-based PAC to a Raleigh PAC controlled by well-known operatives for the NCGOP establishment.  It’s a scheme that appears to have also been tried in 2020 for NCGA races.

Here’s what the drive-bys at WRAL had to say about the 2020 effort:

A web of Republican political groups is running attack ads against Democrats running for the North Carolina General Assembly, accusing them, among other things, of accepting out-of-state money for their campaigns.

The money for these ads flows through an out-of-state group and ultimately comes from a number of large corporate interests, funneled through layers of political committees.

“Don’t let out-of-state money buy your vote,” says one of the ads, running in districts that may prove key as Republicans and Democrats fight for majority control of the General Assembly.

Sussing out just who funded the commercials isn’t easy. But the North Carolina Chamber put $1.5 million into the effort earlier this year. Other major funders include GOPAC and the Republican State Leadership Committee, which in turn are funded by various national corporate interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. […]

Just imagine what the NC Department of Revenue would do if they found out you or I were running our businesses or personal affairs like this.

We don’t buy that this is a scheme to battle liberal efforts to hijack future congressional redistricting efforts in NC.  (Judge April Wood – who is opposed by these shadowy groups — can hardly be labeled hostile to conservative interests.)


[…]The groups are working in a number of states, and this year’s state legislative races are particularly important because whichever party controls the General Assembly – or other state legislatures – will control the once-a-decade redistricting process that draws lines for congressional and legislative voting districts

The North Carolina money flows through the Good Government Coalition, a 527 group under U.S. tax law with a business address at a UPS store in Springfield, Va., which is in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. The group’s custodian of records is a consultant named Matthew Walter, based out of Bethesda, Md.

Good Government put at least $2.25 million into North Carolina politics this year by donating to a group called Citizens for a Better North Carolina. That total may be much higher, though, because the last required records filing with the State Board of Elections covered only up until June 30, and the next quarterly filing isn’t due until Oct. 27, a week before Election Day.


This year, The Good Government Coalition appears to be funneling six-figure sums to a consulting group run by two former aides to, and close associates of,  state senate president Phil Berger.  Documents show that money earmarked for the Allen, Smith, and Stading campaigns.


[…] Citizens for a Better North Carolina turned around and donated at least $1.2 million to Citizens for a Better NC House and $1.25 million to Citizens for a Better NC Senate. Those two groups spent more than $6 million on television ads this cycle, according to Federal Communications Commission records documenting the buys, including the ad that closes with “don’t let out-of-state money buy your vote.”

These groups are also funding direct-mail campaigns managed by Martin & Blaine, a North Carolina consulting group run by Jim Blaine and Ray Martin, former staffers for Republican Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. Berger, along with House Speaker Tim Moore, is on the board for GOPAC. Both men have also been in leadership at the Republican State Leadership Committee.[…]

Walter, the Maryland consultant whose name appears on Good Government Coalition records, said the coalition doesn’t have any role in the advertising decisions made by groups it gives to. He said the group’s next filing with the IRS, which may reveal more donors, is due Thursday.  […]

The two names tied to The Good Government Coalition,  Jessica Proud and Matthew Walter, are both experienced operatives with New York GOP campaigns. Now, they’re pushing big money — with vague background details — down to NC.

TrueConservativeJudges.com, an effort promote the establishment-picked slate of three and propel them to victory, is overseen by the two former Berger aides in Raleigh (who happen to be) getting all that money from  the DC group.

(You may have seen a mailer or two or ten or twenty from TCJ.com during the early-voting period.)

I’ve heard excuses about how electing April Wood for Supreme Court gives Roy Cooper an appointment to the Court of Appeals and shift that body’s partisan divide left.  FALSE.  Even if Wood is elevated to the high court and Cooper picks her interim replacement, there will still be a GOP majority on the court of appeals.

What is this monkey business really all about?  It’s to provide black-robed cover / protection for government-subsidized cash cows in NC like solar and other forms of alternative energy.  If enough legislators are bought and paid for to support solar, and enough judges are bought to block attempts to foil that Jones Street scheme in court, there will be many more weasels getting even richer at our expense.

We’ve got big money coming from New York, down to DC and into Raleigh with little to no info about its origins.  This WHOLE thing stinks.