Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Donations to Blueprint NC Larger Than First Realized

The scandal surrounding Blueprint NC, a Left leaning non-profit, has been stepped up a notch with GOP leaders calling for an investigation into the group’s 501(c)(3) status. The group claims to be a non-partisan, however this recent memo would suggest otherwise. Civitas has just uncovered that the previously reported donation by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to Blueprint that totaled $400,000 was not the full story.

While they talk about the $400,000 figure for 2013 what is left unsaid is the large and continuing supportby ZSR for Blueprint NC activities. Looking through past IRS 990’s on www.guidestar.com, along with the $400,000 above, ZSR has supplied $2.1 million since 2009 to Blueprint NC. They did this either directly or through the NC Justice Center which originally started and housed Blueprint NC with the assistance of a grant from Reynolds. (Source: Civitas)

The NC Justice Center also houses The AJ Fletcher Foundation. The Fletcher Foundation is run by Jim Goodmon, who owns Capital Broadcasting and TV station, WRAL.  Jim Goodmon, Barbara Goodmon, James Goodmon Jr and Michael Goodmon all sit on the board of AJ Fletcher. Jim Goodmon Senior is Chairman of the Board.

NC Justice Center is also linked with NC Policy Watch – there is even a menu link to them on the NC Justice Center homepage. As I’ve written before, WRAL has not commented on the clear ties and bias these associations present. To reiterate the point made by Civitas:

Lastly, it should be noted that WRAL is owned by the Goodmon family, which has ties to Blueprint through four of its family members being on the board of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.  According to the Civitas Institute,  the Foundation has given the progressive group $35,000 in donations, and a former reporter for WRAL, Chris Fitzsimon, is head of the NC Policy Watch which was the point of the lance in the Blueprint attack machine.  Fitzsimon is also allowed free airtime on WRAL-FM, which serves as a platform to attack his political enemies.

Looking at Fitzsimon’s commentary, one can see he is clearly not a fan of Pat McCrory. If you need more convincing, you can listen to him hammer McCrory’s State of the State Address – on WRAL of course.. He’s not a fan of Art Pope either and  yep –  you guessed it,  WRAL reported:

“Whether it’s fair or not, he is one of the most polarizing political figures in North Carolina. And now he is writing a state budget for nearly 10 million people,” said Chris Fitzsimon, a policy analyst and writer with the liberal N.C. Policy Watch. “It’s shocking that a governor who claims he is trying to reach across the aisle would make such an appointment.”

Pope-funded Civitas has distributed a tax reform blueprint this week that would eliminate the individual income tax in favor of raising the sales tax and broadening the number of items and services to which sales tax applies. Fitzsimon questioned whether work like that by those think tanks will now become official McCrory administration positions.

How’s that for the pot calling the kettle black?

Fitzsimon’s Bio is posted on NC Justice Center and he also posts at NC Policy Watch’s Progressive Pulse. Just last month, Fitzsimon quotes an article by Mark Binker – the reporter covering the Blueprint NC memo for WRAL.  Ironically, the article he quotes is about Republicans setting up a non-profit.

So, the question remains: When will WRAL report their connection to Blueprint NC?

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips: APDillon@Protonmail.com
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