Research Hub

North Carolina

Active Republican Outside Money Groups in North Carolina

Carolina Rising

Carolina Rising is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit.[1] In 2014, the group spent $4.7 million in support of now-Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).[2] In November 2015, tax filings revealed that 99% of the group’s funding came from the Crossroads GPS nonprofit.[3] Matea Gold of the Washington Post earlier wrote that Republican megadonor Art Pope contributed to the group.[4] It is possible that Pope donated to Crossroads GPS with the understanding that his donation would be earmarked for North Carolina; such movement of money between dark money groups is common.

On October 20, 2015, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the IRS against Carolina Rising questioning whether the group “violated the tax code by operating primarily to influence political campaigns… and whether Carolina Rising… violated federal law by failing to disclose on its tax returns” the money it spent on elections.[5] One week later, Robert Maguire of the Center for Responsive Politics published an op-ed in the New York Times calling Carolina Rising’s actions “a new low in campaign finance.”[6] He described the group as “a trailblazer… one of a new breed of politically active nonprofits that sprang up [in 2014] to assist a single candidate’s bid for a seat in Congress, with money from donors whose identities don’t have to be revealed.”[7]

It is unclear whether Carolina Rising will support Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in his reelection race; however, former executive director Dallas Woodhouse has stated that the group will remain active.[8] Woodhouse, who previously worked for the Koch-linked Americans for Prosperity group, is now the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.[9]

[1]Political nonprofit spent nearly 100 percent of funds to elect Tillis in ’14.” Robert Maguire, The Center for Responsive Politics, 10/20/15

[2]A new low in campaign finance.” Robert Maguire, The New York Times (opinion pages), 10/27/15

[3]Pro-Tillis dark money group funded entirely by Crossroads GPS.” Robert Maguire, The Center for Responsive Politics, 11/17/15

[4]In N.C., conservative donor Art Pope sits at heart of government he helped transform.” Matea Gold, The Washington Post, 07/19/14

[5]Re: Complaint against Carolina Rising, Inc.” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, 10/20/15

[6]A new low in campaign finance.” Robert Maguire, The New York Times (opinion pages), 10/27/15

[7]A new low in campaign finance.” Robert Maguire, The New York Times (opinion pages), 10/27/15

[8]Election ads were about issues, says ‘Carolina Rising’ chief.” Carrie Levine, The Center for Public Integrity, 10/26/14

[9]Dallas Woodhouse to lead NC Republican Party.” The News & Observer, Colin Campbell, 09/27/15

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