Yesterday, North Carolina Republicans called for an investigation of the progressive 501 (c) (3) group Blueprint NC, which drafted a memo calling for the evisceration of the party’s leadership. It was leaked to the press last Thursday, and Blueprint has since disavowed the memo. They’ve also claimed to be a “nonpartisan” group, but their list of partners – and Blueprint’s origins – are very much grounded in the left-wing of American politics.
Mark Binker of WRAL.com wrote on February 25 that:
Robin Hayes, the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, is calling for the State Board of Elections and U.S. Internal Revenue Service to investigate Blueprint NC, the group linked to a controversial strategy memo that calls for aggressive attacks against GOP leaders like Gov. Pat McCrory.
Blueprint’s leaders have said the memo should not be attributed to them, although acknowledge that it was distributed at gatherings they organized.
Hayes complained that the group had violated restrictions placed on charitable organizations organized under section 501(c)3 of the federal tax code as well as state election laws. (GOP complaint to IRS | GOP complaint to Board of Elections)
Specifically, the complaint to the IRS says that Blueprint “engaged in impermissible partisan activity.” The complaint to elections officials ties remarks made by Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham, the House minority leader, to language found in the strategy document tied to Blueprint. It suggests Blueprint is providing services to the state Democratic Party.
“It is incredibly disappointing that Democratic leadership has not also condemned this radical, left-wing group for their unethical and illegal practices” said NCGOP Chairman Hayes. “Their strategy instead is to parrot these personal attacks and support these potentially illegal tactics, and roadblock the elected leadership regardless of policies that are proposed.”
An official with the State Board of Elections did not immediately return an email seeking comment. Mark Hanson, a spokesman for the IRS, said he could not comment because “the IRS is not permitted to discuss a particular or specific taxpayer’s tax matter or their taxes based on federal disclosure regulations and federal law.”
Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller said Monday he knew nothing of the Blueprint memo except what he read in the media.
However, that claim is suspect since Binker wrote previously that:
The memo indicates there are close ties between the liberal groups and the Democratic Party itself. For example, a response to McCrory’s State of the State address earlier this week delivered by Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham, tracked closely with slides from the poll shared by the liberal groups.
Hall’s prepared remarks included this sentence: “Cutting funding for public education is wrong because it hurts our children’s ability to succeed and compete for the jobs of the future.” A slide from the polling memo includes the phrase, “Cutting funding for public education is wrong because it hurts our children’s ability to succeed and compete for the jobs of the future.”
The Charlotte Observer added that Chairman Hayes said, “it is imperative that the public finds out if any laws were broken and who exactly was involved in this plan to ‘eviscerate’ our elected leaders.”
In an email sent to Binker, Blueprint’s Executive Director, Sean Kosofsky, insists that his organization didn’t author the memo, and is the “victim of a disinformation campaign by political operatives.”
Blueprint NC continues to be the victim of a disinformation campaign by political operatives seeking to silence our free speech rights around important issues facing North Carolina. Blueprint NC did not author the memo and did nothing to violate its 501c3 status. Should an investigation or lawsuit be pursued in an attempt to silence or intimidate us, we will defend our right to free speech.
Lastly, it should be noted that WRAL is owned by the Goodmon family, which has ties to Blueprint through four of its family members being on the board of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. According to the Civitas Institute, the Foundation has given the progressive group $35,000 in donations, and a former reporter for WRAL, Chris Fitzsimon, is head of the NC Policy Watch – which was the point of the lance in the Blueprint attack machine. Fitzsimon is also allowed free airtime on WRAL-FM, which serves as a platform to attack his political enemies.
Let the lawfare begin.