New independent spender launches

Posted April 21, 2014

— A former state director for Americans for Prosperity, Dallas Woodhouse, has launched a new 501(c)(4), Carolina Rising.

According to a release Monday morning, the new group will promote "free market, education and government reform policies," such as those enacted by GOP lawmakers in Raleigh. 

"To ensure continued success, it is vital to implement a robust social and digital media strategy that evolves with new media trends to not only communicate North Carolina’s successes, but publicize the policies that led to those results," the release said. 

501(c)(4)s, like 501(c)(3)s, are organizations under the federal tax code that can engage in political campaigns as independent spenders. While the political spending of 501(c)(3)s is highly regulated, 501(c)(4)s – so-called "social welfare organizations" – have fewer tax benefits to donors and thus fewer restrictions on spending on candidates' behalf.

Like super PACs, 501(c)(4)s can accept unlimited donations, but unlike super PACs, they are not required to disclose their donors. It's not unusual for these groups to be used as conduits to give money to super PACs and other groups while hiding the identities of the contributors. 

It's not clear how the group will differ from several other conservative groups already operating in North Carolina, including Americans for Prosperity, Civitas Action, Crossroads GPS, Renew North Carolina (the former Foundation for North Carolina), which promotes the policies of Gov. Pat McCrory, or the NC House Legislative Partners, which promotes the policy positions of the House Republican caucus. 

Woodhouse did not immediately respond to an inquiry from WRAL News about how his new group will differentiate itself. The release seems to imply, however, that it may take on an attack role. 

"As we watch North Carolina’s key economic measures improve, we know these new polices are working. However, we can no longer count on just passing good policies,” said Woodhouse in the release. "We must do a better job of scrutinizing the policies from proponents of big government and remind citizens that these plans will return us to an era of crushing taxes, over-regulation and corruption. We must be vigilant to secure the advances we’ve made across the state to ensure continued growth and sound government.”

"A key mission of Carolina Rising aims at providing common-sense analysis of proven policies and contrast them with the increasingly radical political agenda of the liberal left, the release said.

UPDATE: Woodhouse responded Monday afternoon that the group will be more "aggressive" than other third-party groups "in defending polices that now clearly are working." 

"In general, our side has been too defensive," he wrote in an email to WRAL News. "85,600 new positions in 2013, Fantastic job creation in March of this year. Tax relief and reform is working, teacher raises are on the way for the second time in 3 years, and the other side only has complaints, protests and lawsuits to offer." 

"We will aggressively promote and defend the policies that are getting North Carolina working again and contrast that with that what the other side has to offer, which is mostly higher taxes and more regulation, leading back to the double digit unemployment we finally have gotten rid of," he said.


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  • goldenosprey Apr 22, 2014

    The republican Scotus has hastened our transition from a democracy to corporate oligarchy with a thin patina of democracy. It gets thinner with each election cycle and every politicized ruling by the Five Unaccountables who form the majority on the bench.

  • Rebelyell55 Apr 22, 2014

    Well it's always be said that you got to spend money to make money. How long before people wake up to the fact that our taxes are supporting special interest groups and policitical hacks who have no interest in the citizens needs, only what they can gain for themselves and their high price donors.

  • miseem Apr 21, 2014

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    Costs to run for elections have increased dramatically over the last 30 years, mudslinging and attack ads have become the predominant method of campaigning - especially among the GOP, and accountability and disclosure of campaign funds has almost vanished. Polls show that even GOP voters feel that campaign financing is becoming a disaster, especially tax free, unidentified funding. And anyone that denies that most of the hidden funds going to GOP candidates needs to provide some details and fact to back it up. And citing Soros does not constitute a convincing argument. He's a lightweight compared to some of the GOP PACs.

  • Kenny Dunn Apr 21, 2014
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    Looks like you have that pretty much right. Shameful, but perfectly legal in a 1984 sort of way.

  • teleman60 Apr 21, 2014

    SO: The social welfare of this PAC is producing "misleading commercials" downplaying the gop GA laws, McCrory involvement in THE deregulating that caused disasters and taking credit for the previous Perdue successes. So that allows these people to get IRS TAX FREE STATUS and get to accept MILLIONS of KOCH BUCKS and not tell voters.

  • Kenny Dunn Apr 21, 2014
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    Agreed and thank you for voicing that. I just hate to see all of this outside money in politics.

  • itsnotmeiswear Apr 21, 2014

    Unless you are one of the extremely wealthy, I'm not sure how any right minded person could see the rise of the Super PAC's as a good thing. All it will lead to is more of a "bought and paid for" political system free of accountability that benefits only a very small segment of our society. Sad times.

  • teleman60 Apr 21, 2014

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    It's funny that republicans say these things - WHERE ARE THE NUMEROUS DEMOCRATIC PACS? Did they all disappear? Could it be that NC has 800,000 more registered Democrats than republicans? Was it the fact that there were nearly A MILLION MORE DEMOCRATS than republicans that caused Democrats to win elections for 100 years?
    Why do you think the gerrymandered districts and voting laws HAD TO BE ENACTED to suppress the minority voting.

  • Terry Watts Apr 21, 2014
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    You mean like this guy???

  • uBnice Apr 21, 2014

    What we know is that money talks. It is no longer a government for the people, by the people and of the people. A recent study highlighted that ordinary citizens have very little sway in any government policy decisions and the nation's laws. The monied people/groups/corporations get most of what they want whether We the People want it or not.

    I was very sad to read about the findings.