UPDATE: Welcome Carolina Plott Hound Readers!
The Washington Free Beacon has an article up today detailing the dark money flowing to the Democrats from the ultra-secretive group Democracy Alliance. That article has ties to North Carolina and Kay Hagan.
The Free Beacon’s article lays out a document that they have obtained left on the floor of the groups most recent meeting. The Free Beacon article begins as follows:
The Democracy Alliance takes pains to ensure that its work disbursing millions of dollars to top left-wing organizations remains secretive and free from public scrutiny. But a document left on the floor of the group’s recent gathering reveals for the first time the names of a number of individuals involved in the effort.
It lists new Democracy Alliance “partners,” individuals who every year must pay $30,000 in dues and contribute at least $200,000 to the groups that DA supports. It also reveals names of DA “advisers,” foundation participants, and individuals getting a “sneak peek” at the group’s activities.
Among its new partners are top labor union bosses, financial and business leaders, and heirs to billion-dollar fortunes who have made names for themselves as high-dollar Democratic donors.
Further down, the tie in to North Carolina is mentioned:
Some new DA partners include individuals with their own successful business careers.
Adam Abram made his fortune in insurance and real estate. He sold his company, James River Group, to Bermuda-based Franklin Holdings in 2007. Abram is currently Franklin’s chairman. He also founded Adaron Group, a commercial real estate developer in North Carolina.
Some of Abram’s recent ventures have come under scrutiny for alleged cronyism. James River Group provided $15,000 in financing for an economic impact study that recommended construction of an airport in the research triangle region of North Carolina. The company indicated that the airport was “’very important’ or ‘essential’ to [its] business,” according to the study.
Some residents saw that as a financial conflict. “As a resident of rural Orange County … I find it deeply disturbing that companies like the James River Group fund an economic study and they themselves want the airport because the airport will benefit their businesses,” one resident wrote.
Abram has donated more than $110,000 to Democrats since 1990. He cohosted Michelle Obama at a 2008 fundraiser in Durham, N.C.
Many of Abram’s political contributions have focused on specific policy issues. In 2009, he offered to match all contributions up to $5,000 to the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Abram has been critical of the Obama administration’s civil liberties record and tactics in the war on terror. He wrote a 2011 column for the Raleigh News-Observer criticizing legislation eventually signed by Obama that granted the executive wide latitude in detaining and trying suspected terrorists.
Despite those misgivings, Abram has donated $4,600 to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The document obtained by Free Beacon lists ‘proposed conference friend’ for Abram as one Joe Zimlich and ‘proposed additional friend for conference’ as Doug Phelps. Zimlich is CEO of Boehemian Companies and a trustee of the Left leaning “The Third Way” group that espouses Progressive ideals. Kay Hagan is an honorary co-chair of The Third Way. Both Zimlich and Doug Phelps are tied to the Colorado arm of Democracy Alliance, along with billionaire Pat Stryker, where they push Green agenda items and have also pushed minimum wage hikes.
Zimlich and Stryker’s names may ring a bell if you recall the solar firm, Abound. Abound Solar was the third company to file for bankruptcy after receiving millions in stimulus funds.
A solar manufacturing company that received nearly $70 million from the Obama administration is shutting down and filing for bankruptcy protection, the Energy Department said Thursday.
Abound Solar won approval in 2010 for a $400 million loan guarantee to aid construction of solar manufacturing facilities in Longmont, Colo., and Tipton, Ind. But amid growing problems for domestic solar panel manufacturers, the company began missing milestones laid out by the department in its loan guarantee agreement. – Politico
Read more about Abound’s bankruptcy here. Related Government Oversight and Reform report here. Both Zimlich and Stryker we heavy donors and bundlers for Obama. From the March 20, 2012 House Investigation:
In 2008, Stryker donated $50,000 and bundled $87,500 for President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, and has given $35,800 to the 2012 Obama Victory Fund. Abound Solar also developed ties to Congressional Democrats.
Abram was profiled by the Triangle Business Journal in 2012. Abram was also quoted by WRAL in January 2014 in a story about… wait for it, Dark Money. The article was really an excuse to attack Art Pope and the Republicans, but now the article has new meaning. Relevant section below, wherein WRAL doesn’t do any background on Abram but quotes him as simply a ‘specialty insurance’ exec:
While Pope is a big donor toward Republican causes in North Carolina elections, he is not the only one. For example, Real Jobs also raised money from sources such as RJ Reynolds’ parent company RAI Services, and Gardner Payne, a player in the video sweepstakes industry.
Democrats use the same avenues. In 2012, for example, North Carolina Citizens for Progress raised $2.6 million that was mainly spent on ads hammering then-candidate McCrory. Political circles are currently buzzing with the prospect for a new Democratic organization that would provide a more effective counterweight to Pope and other Republican spenders.
“There really isn’t a great deal to say at this phase,” said Adam Abram, an executive in the specialty insurance industry who has been involved in some of those conversations.
“I am in the early stages of talking with business and civic leaders who are concerned about our state’s direction,” Abram said in an email. “A consensus is building that North Carolina should be a leader in public education, have a strong economy, protect our weakest citizens and take care of the environment. We may start a broader public conversation later in 2014.”
Abram’s James River Group donated to Hagan’s campaign and the NC Democrats. Also tied to the Democracy Alliance story is Emily’s List, who has given thousands to Kay Hagan over the years.
So the next time you hear Kay complain about Dark Money, ask her if Harry Reid and his friends count…