On Thursday, when the incoming North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) announced that Art Pope, the state's single largest donor and a founding board member of the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, would be in charge of his state's budget as deputy budget director. Pope, the millionaire discount store chain owner, has spent years building a massive conservative infrastructure in the state in the mold of the national network funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. He has built think tanks, funded scholarship programs for conservatives, founded the North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity and, in the past four years, pumped more than $3 million into political campaigns that have successfully flipped the state's government into full control of the most conservative elements of the state Republican Party.Of course, the leftists at HuffPo denigrate Pope's selection. But we in the libertarian wing of the GOP are simply elated. Congratulations Art Pope! What a long strange trip it's been.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Co-founder of the original Republican Liberty Caucus appointed by incoming Republican Governor to North Carolina budget directorship
by Eric Dondero In 1990, as many LR readers are aware, I founded the Republican Liberty Caucus. I launched the group nationwide, including the states of Florida, New Jersey, and Virginia. My co-editor of LR Clifford Thies, was right there, joining our effort just weeks after we launched. But I got the idea of the Republican Liberty Caucus from a small group in North Carolina. The RLC name came from a local political action committee formed to help elect Art Pope to the North Carolina legislature. The North Carolina Libertarian Party had lost their ballot status in the 1988 election cycle. NC was one of four states where the LP did not qualify '88 Libertarian Presidential candidate Ron Paul and running mate Andre Marrou for the ballot. That year, disgruntled NC Libertarians, like Stacy Powers, Stan Ayeres, Bobby Yates-Emory, Vernon Robinson and Pope decided to try their hand at GOP politics. Pope was a well-to-do local businessman. He had served a stint as State Chairman for the Libertarian Party in the early to mid-'80s. He was also active in the steering committee of the 1980 Libertarian Presidential campaign of Ed Clark and running mate billionaire oil man from Kansas David Koch. It worked. The RLC centered around the Raleigh-Durham area, elected Pope to the state legislature. He'd go on to serve two more terms. Though, the NC RLC disbanded in '89 soon after Pope's election. By the time I got to them, they were defunct. Pope and Ayeres gave me permission to use the RLC name, and the rest is history. (Pope did stay in touch with me for years after.) Anyway, this news comes to us today. Most in the libertarian movement may not be aware of its historic significance for the libertarian wing of the GOP, and for the Libertarian Party. From Huffington Post, "Art Pope, Koch Brothers Ally, Picked To Run North Carolina Budget":