Under the Dome

Heritage Foundation sinks its roots in N.C.

January 11, 2011 

Another conservative advocacy group is setting up shop in North Carolina.

Heritage Action for America, a Washington-based 501(c)(4) organization, has opened its first state operations in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to engage in grass-roots lobbying.

It has hired Jessica Anderson, the outreach coordinator for the Civitas Institute, to be its first state director.

The new group is a sister organization of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that has been around for decades. Heritage Action is designed to be the advocacy arm of the foundation.

Although it's setting up an operation in North Carolina, the new group is apparently aimed at influencing policy in Washington.

"Heritage Action will ensure that lawmakers in Washington represent North Carolinians, and all Americans, not special interests," said Michael Needham, Heritage Action's CEO.

Heritage Action is now pushing for repeal of the health care overhaul that Congress passed last year.

Needham praised Anderson's "deep roots" in North Carolina politics. She has worked for the Civitas Institute since 2009 and with the Koch Associates Program at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation for a year.

Ellmers gets into fundraising swing

Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers may have run as a political outsider, but she is quickly getting into the swing of things when it comes to insider fundraising. She has scheduled a -fundraising luncheon at the Capitol Hill Club for Jan. 26, with political action committees being charged $2,500 or $1,000, an invitation says.

Ellmers, a tea party favorite who knocked off Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge in November, has taken flak from Democrats for participating with a dozen other Republican freshmen members in a fundraiser sponsored by America's New Majority featuring singer LeAnn Rimes.

Also scheduled to hold a Washington fundraiser is Republican Rep. Walter Jones, who has a "North Carolina Winter Barbecue" scheduled Jan. 24 at the San Manuel Townhouse on Capitol. The price of admission ranges from $500 for individuals up to $2,500 for political action committees.

Berger names criminal justice, ag leaders

Incoming Senate leader Phil Berger continues to roll out the GOP committee leadership posts.

Monday he announced three co-chairmen of the Senate Judiciary II Committee: Austin Allran of Hickory; E.S. "Buck" Newton, a freshman from Rocky Mount; and Warren Daniel, a freshman from Morganton. The committee oversees the state's criminal justice system and laws.

Berger also recently announced that Sen. David Rouzer of Benson and Sen. Don East of Pilot Mountain would serve as co-chairmen of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources. Sen. Brent Jackson of Autryville was named as vice chairman.

rob.christensen@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4532

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