Raleigh, N.C. — 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 they 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.
Specifically, the complaint to the IRS says that Blueprint "engaged in impermissible partisan activity." The complaint to elections officials ties remarks made by House Minority Leader Larry Hall 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” Hayes said. “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 that he knew nothing of the Blueprint memo except what he read in the media.
"The Democratic Party under my leadership is not about attacking individual Republican leaders," Voller said Monday. "Our strategy is transparent and open...We consider all the Republican elected officials to be marching in lock-step with the John Locke, Civitas playbook. From the governor to Speaker (Thom) Tillis to Mr. (Phil) Berger (the Senate leader) and the Republican legislators, the only battle we plan to engage with is an open battle of ideas."
Blueprint Executive Director Sean Kosofsky on Monday denied his organization did anything wrong and said that it had been the subject of a dirty trick.
"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 501(c)3 status. Should an investigation or lawsuit be pursued in an attempt to silence or intimidate us, we will defend our right to free speech," Kosofsky said via email.
Meanwhile, Civitas, one of the organizations cited by Voller, circulated a list of organizations supposedly affiliated with Blueprint NC.
"You might be surprised to learn that many of the organizations who lobby you daily are active members of this group – and some members even serve in leadership," Civitas President Francis De Luca wrote in an email to legislators Monday.
Blueprint officials said the published by Civitas was out of date. A more current list, they said, was included in a source book circulated to reporters earlier this year.