Last Thursday, a memo from Blueprint NC was leaked to the press, which stated they intended to ‘eviscerate, mitigate, litigate, cogitate, and agitate’ the North Carolina Republican leadership. Blueprint is an ACORN-afiliated group, and its list of partners represents the core of the American far left. Since their dirty little secret was revealed, the organization has disavowed the memo.
Mark Binker of WRAL.com wrote yesterday that:
“The email from Stephanie [Bass, Blueprint NC Communications Director,] is referring to the slide deck, the POLLING MEMO and the data,” Blueprint NC Executive Director Sean Kosofsky wrote in an email on Saturday. “This document from early December is not our document at all. We never drafted that. All these news outlets have been had.
“This is a James O’Keefe-style splicing of two radially different things,” he continued, referring to a Republican filmmaker and provocateur whose work has frequently been called into question.
When interviewed on Thursday , Kosofsky defended his group’s involvement with the documents, saying that it was appropriate for 501(c)3 groups to discuss ways to push their agenda. The Charlotte Observer reported Saturday that a major Blueprint NC funder was unhappy with the memo and reviewing its funding for the group.
“If you want to push against a policy, one strategy is to take advantage of your opponents weaknesses,” Kosofsky said Thursday. He said Saturday that he did not realize the three-page strategy memo with the aggressive language was what WRAL News and other reporters were asking about. “Research is perfectly safe for your partners.”
Kosofsky describes Blueprint NC as a “back office” for nonprofit groups, helping to coordinate activities and take advantage of economies of scale that small nonprofits would not have on their own. He insists the organization is nonpartisan.
As the Civitas Institute noted, Blueprint NC was “organized and funded by the progressive Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.” Kosofsky’s remark is disingenuous in the extreme. Furthermore, he seems to not have read his organization’s mission statement.
Ultimately, Blueprint aims to influence state policy in NC so that residents of the state benefit from more progressive policies such as better access to health care, higher wages, more affordable housing, a safer, cleaner environment, and access to reproductive health services.
Also, here’s a list of Blueprint’s “nonpartisan” partners:
- Phillip Randolph Institute
- Action for Children
- American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU)
- Carolina Justice Policy Center
- Center for Community Self-Help/Center for Responsible Lending
- Center for Death Penalty Litigation
- Common Cause
- Community Reinvestment Association of NC- CRANC
- Conservation Council of NC Foundation
- Conservation Trust of NC
- Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, Inc.
- Democracy NC
- Disability Rights NC
- El Pueblo
- Environment NC
- Equality NC
- Fair Trial Initiative
- Institute for Southern Studies
- League of Women Voters – Charlotte
- Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation
- NARAL Pro-Choice NC
- NC ACORN
- NC Against Gun Violence
- NC Alliance of Black Elected Officials
- NC Association of CDCs
- NC Center for Voter Education
- NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault
- NC Coalition to End Homelessness
- NC Community Development Initiative
- NC Conservation Network
- NC Environmental Defense
- NC Fair Share
- NC Housing Coalition, Inc.
- NC Institute of Minority Economic Development
- NC John Muir Foundation (Sierra Club)
- NC Justice Center
- NC Latino Coalition, Inc.
- NC Minority Support Center
- NC NAACP
- NC Policy Watch
- People of Faith Against the Death Penalty
- Planned Parenthood Health Systems
- Planned Parenthood of Central NC
- Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
- Southern Coalition of Social Justice
- Working Families Win
A.J. Fletcher Foundation
The A.J. Fletcher Foundation, whose mission is to support progressive nonprofits, gave $205,000 to the NC Justice Center and over $66,000 to the NC Housing Coalition in 2007.
Tides Foundation received a $25,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, part of which was used to create gettraction.org. The Tides Foundation has given grants to the Center for Community Change as well as over $1 million to Project Vote.
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations is a federation of 57 international labor unions. In North Carolina, AFL-CIO shares a building withACORN NC and is on the North Carolina chapter of Health Care for America Now.
Service Employees International Union
SEIU has donated over $3.6 million to ACORN over the last six years. SEIU Local 100 was co-founded by ACORN founder Wade Rathke. In 2008, SEIU gave $1.1 million to the NC Democratic Party.
Binker added that when:
Asked [if] it was appropriate for his organization to participate in meetings where such memos are distributed and whether he endorsed all the ideas in the memo, Kosofsky replied via email:
Darn right. C3 nonprofits should absolutely try to stop bad policies that hurt the poor and hurt the environment, women and the middle class. If they need to exploit weaknesses of lawmakers, they should. I stand by that.
The meeting in December was of over 50 organizations. People bring their own idea. I am not going to claim or distance myself from things without greater context. The only thing that matters to Blueprint is what Blueprint does. I cannot speak for others. We cannot be held to what others do at meetings we are at. that is completely unfair.
I am not going to cherry pick ideas from that draft plan and say which ones we approve of or disapprove of. I will say this…The stakes are high for the people of NC. This governor and legislature are approving raises for their cabinet while gutting benefits for folks already injured by unemployment. Blueprint and our partners are passionate advocates for policy passed in the public interest, not passed for special interests. Our partners can educate the public, educate lawmakers and absolutely hold them accountable when they vote against the interests of the people of NC. the public should know that charitable groups can and do advocate strongly. they should. Blueprint doesn’t lobby or do any public advocacy. This isn’t about us at all.
Binker concludes his piece by saying, “it is worth noting that many of ideas contained both in the polling memo and the three-page strategy document have shown up elsewhere.” However, the Goodmon family, who owns WRAL, has four members on the board of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which has ties to Blueprint NC. The NC Justice Center originally housed Blueprint during its formation.
As I posted yesterday:
WRAL is also actually doing one of the items in the strategy memo. The memo on page 3 calls for tracking McCrory “Campaign Promises” and “slam him when he contradicts his promise.” WRAL appears to have taken that for action by launching their “Promise Tracker“, complete with cute little ”Skull & Crossbones” symbols.
WatchdogWire- North Carolina questioned WRAL over this coincidence, and responded that they “didn’t have the resources” to do this four years ago under Democratic Governor Bev Perdue.