... and he did nothing to help his cause in doing so.
During a news conference held by the NC NAACP in Raleigh today, Art Pope came out of his office to tell his side of the story.
Barber and Pope exchanged words as Barber walked toward Pope's office to deliver a letter.
"We want to put a stop to the use of wealth to influence policies in a negative way," Barber said. "That's why it's not a boycott. It's a picket."
"If I gave to the North Carolina Justice Center and Democracy North Carolina instead of the John Locke Foundation, that would be OK?" Pope asked.
"It's the policies; it's not the giving," Barber responded.
At one point Mr. Pope stated that he'd done nothing "wrong or illegal" in contributing to political campaigns across our state, essentially buying himself majority influence in both houses of our legislature.
Just because you can doesn't mean you should, Mr. Pope. Everyone does NOT have $50 million dollars to pour into statewide politics. Therein lies the "wrongness" in Pope's willingness to spend, spend, spend any way he pleases. Money is not speech.
"Art Pope is the poster child for big money influence in our democracy," said Chris Kromm, executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies. "There are many donors and special interest groups vying for influence in this state, but there is no single person who has spent as much money or has orchestrated a political machine on the scale of Art Pope’s empire in North Carolina.
"That’s not an opinion – or as Art Pope may have you believe, a personal attack. It’s a fact," Kromm said. "Over the last decade, Pope has pumped nearly $50 million into his political machine."