Pope's network

November 2, 2010 

Your Oct. 27 front-page article "Art Pope: a one-man Republican equalizer" shed valuable light on an often shadowy political network, but it missed important details.

Here are findings from a report this month by the Institute for Southern Studies:

Far from being a tiny fraction of his charity work, as Pope told The N&O, Pope's family foundation gives 65 percent of its money to right-wing causes - double what's spent for non-political charity.

North Carolina's leading conservative groups count on the Pope Foundation for almost 90 percent of their income, an unusual level of purse-string power.

Pope's groups have worked closely with extremist tea party factions like Tea Party Express, which recently had to fire leader Mark Williams for referring to African-Americans as coloreds and other racist statements.

Pope's foundation has poured $24 million into groups, many tied to energy companies, that deny the overwhelming scientific consensus about climate change. Pope-backed Civitas Action is running attacks on behalf of a candidate who calls climate change a hoax.

I hope your future coverage will offer a fuller picture of Art Pope's network and influence.

Chris Kromm

Executive Director, Institute for Southern Studies

Durham

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