Excerpt From: WRAL. Written By: Mark Binker.
A recently formed nonprofit group is preparing to raise big money at the end of March by offering donors the chance to meet and mingle with Gov. Roy Cooper and the “Governor’s Leadership Team,” according to an invitation obtained by WRAL News.
Moving North Carolina Forward is a social welfare nonprofit. Such 501(c)(4) entities – so named for a section of the federal tax code – are frequently created to carry out campaign-like activities without the disclosure rules and donation limits that come with formal political action committees. Campaign finance advocates frequently call these nonprofits “dark money” groups because the public is in the dark about who is funding these organizations.
In this case, an invitation to Moving North Carolina Forward’s event on March 30-31 at the Umstead Hotel in Cary said that the group’s mission is “advocating for policies that advance economic growth, stronger schools, tolerance, and fair and legal electoral districts.” That description closely tracks with the platforms of a number of Democratic candidates and groups, including Cooper’s 2016 campaign.
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The invitation offers a March 30 reception with the governor and “policy talks” that will be “led by special guests from the Governor’s Leadership Team” the following day.
“We do have a variety of public policy issues that a group of us genuinely feel need to be addressed and discussed and that we need to advocate solutions that do help move the debate and the dialog along,” said Tom Hendrickson, a member of the group’s three-member board and its president.
When asked if the group was formed explicitly to help Cooper, Hendrickson did not answer the question head on. That’s likely because 501(c)(4) groups have limitations with regard to how explicit their role in politics can be, even if they do end up having a political impact.