Under the Dome

Dome: GOP candidates received most PAC money in 2011-12

lbonner@newsobserver.com rchristensen@newsobserver.comSeptember 16, 2013 

The N.C. FreeEnterprise Foundation has released a report on PAC contributions in state races that reinforces a basic political lesson: money flows to power.

According to the report, PACs registered in the state contributed $12.27 million to legislative and statewide candidates in 2011-2012, with Republicans soaking up about $8.8 million and Democrats landing about $3.4 million.

The report lists the top 200 PAC contributors. The top three were Advocates for Justice, $449,750; Nationwide Insurance, $335,500; and the N.C. Hospital Association, $327,750.

Ellmers may face challenger

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers may have a serious primary challenge from the right next spring.

Jim Duncan, chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party and co-founder of the grassroots organization, The Coalition for American Principles, is contemplating a challenge to the Dunn Republican. Duncan spent his career as an executive with Comdisco, a high-tech equipment leasing company. He is involved in a number of civic activities, including the Upper Room Academy in Raleigh and the Durham Boys and Girls Club.

Ellmers was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the tea party movement and as an outspoken critic of the new health care law. But some critics say she has been too close to House Speaker John Boehner.

Pittenger, Hagan among richest

Two members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation made it onto Roll Call’s list of the 50 Richest Members of Congress: Rep. Robert Pittenger and Sen. Kay Hagan.

Pittenger, a Republican who lives in Charlotte and represents the 9th District, ranked No. 13 with a net worth of $27.68 million. Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, ranked No. 45, with a net worth of $8.06 million.

Roll Call, which compiles the list after reviewing the financial disclosures of all senators and representatives, reports that the majority of Pittenger’s assets are in real estate. That’s because his real estate and construction company, the Robert Pittenger Co., is valued at $25 million to $50 million.

The Capitol Hill newspaper reports that the freshman received $3.68 million last year in salary and bonuses from the firm.

It also notes that he listed liabilities totaling $8.25 million, including his personal residence, his South Carolina vacation home and a vacant house on Grandfather Mountain.

Hagan made the list in part because of her stake in Anchuca Holdings, according to the report. The limited liability corporation is one of several controlled by her father, Joe Ruthven, and was noted as a gift with a value “toward the lower end of the $5 million to $25 million” range.

She also reported at least $7 million in liabilities, including mortgages on land, buildings and her home.

Roll Call notes that its list skews Republican and that senators are typically better off than representatives, though Rep. Darrell Issa, Republican of California, came in at No. 1 with $355.38 million.

The Economist weighs in

News of political goings on in North Carolina finally reached across the pond.

In an article Sept. 14, the London-based Economist reports from Southern Pines on a Moral Monday road show and lists the various GOP-backed legislation that elicited protests this past year.

Dome also should note that the online edition has a photo of a beautiful fall mountain vista from Getty with the caption, “Another lovely day in the Red Ridge Mountains.” British humor, perhaps?

Staff writers Lynn Bonner, Rob Christensen and Mary Cornatzer

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