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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Whore's d'oeuvres: Civitas Institute's Frank De Luca will do anything for a smear


Civitas Institute, the public policy whorehouse North Carolina dollar store magnate Art Pope runs to service the state Republican Party, is working the street again.

Here’s their latest come-on, scripted by Pope’s house pimp, Francis X. De Luca. I will examine it, a paragraph at a time for the benefit of the zanies and dolts who populate Civitas’ social media pages.

Has Roy Cooper nominated a telephone scammer? Governor Roy Cooper’s nomination of Michael Regan to be the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality is troubling in light of information obtained from the NC Secretary of States Office (NCSOS).

Has he, or hasn’t he? You will never learn the answer from De Luca, who specializes in guilt by insinuation. Read his post with a magnifier and you will never find the answer.

(The link, by the way, is to the DEQ website, which tells you absolutely nothing about this story but shows DeLuca- or an intern- knows that links make the incredible credible to the credulous.)

Regan was with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) from 2008-2016. During that time EDF was actively soliciting money by phone from North Carolina taxpayers.

The underlining in this paragraph is not a link. Or maybe De Luca doesn’t know as much about making links as we thought.

During his time there, EDF  reported taking in over $4.6 million from Tar Heels – yet only used about $1.3 million for charitable purposes according to published records at the NCSOS website.

The link here is a valid one. However, it does not take you to the files that prove the claim made, just to the Secretary of State’s page for charitable solicitations. How many of you are going to spend the time to find that data for one nonprofit for each of eight years? The 2015-16 Charitable Solicitations Report is 786 pages long just for that year. So you will just have to take De Luca’s claim on faith, which in a post-factual era- not to mention Civitas’ intellectual promiscuity- is a dubious bet.

You’d think De Luca would want to nail down his proof for all to see, but intellectual whores avoid bright lights as avidly as the more commonplace sorts.

While many people register with the Do Not Call list to avoid annoying phone calls – charities are exempt from the national and state laws prohibiting unsolicited calls.

WTF does that mean? You might well ask. If charities calling is legal, why does De Luca care? If it is illegal, why doesn’t he say so? If it needs to be illegal, why doesn’t Civitas write up a law for Art Pope to tell his wholly-owned General Assembly Republican majorities to pass? Come to that, why haven’t they fixed it already? They’ve been running the show in Raleigh for six years now.

Let’s recap. DEQ nominee Michael Regan worked eight years for a nonprofit that raises money, among other means, by phone, and which reports it, as required by law, to the North Carolina Secretary of State.

So far the only obvious scammer in the piece is Francis X. De Luca, who’s clearly all hat and no cattle. But let’s give the little pimpster his due:

While Regan was employed in a leadership position at EDF, the organization used the law to raise millions of dollars from good people concerned about the environment, but used less than 1 out of 3 dollars (under 29%) to actually support environmental work.

Now, at last, six paragraphs in, De Luca starts to sling mud.

Things De Luca leaves out:

  1. What leadership position did Regan hold?
  2. Did it have anything to do with fundraising?
  3. Is 29% an illegal or immoral total?
  4. Is that EDF’s whole budget?
  5. Given that De Luca, down at the bottom of his post, says Regan is a “controversial, radical environmentalist”, is he claiming the “good people concerned about the environment” got gulled?

Civitas- and the NCGOP- does not consider anyone concerned about the environment a good person. There are radicals and there are corporate donors who pollute. So this is just lipstick on the pig De Luca wants to sell you an hour with.

In fact, Regan held four positions at EFD: Director, Southeast Climate & Energy Programs (2008-13); Interim Associate Vice President for US Climate and Energy Programs (2012-13) Senior Director, State Strategic Implementation Programs, US Climate & Energy Programs (2013-15); and Associate Vice President, US Climate & Energy Programs and Southeast Regional Director (2015-2016).

None of those had anything to do with fundraising. I challenge Francis X. De Luca to prove otherwise.

He won’t.

He can’t.

There are over a million nonprofits and charities in the United States. Because he is a lazy sack and a partisan hack, De Luca doesn’t give you any measure to compare EDF’s 2008-16 fundraising to.

What’s a good return on telephone solicitations? He won’t tell you. Maybe he doesn’t even know. This recent Forbes article explains the apples-and-oranges nature of comparing one nonprofit to another.

One thing he surely must know is that one of the main purposes of telephone and mail charitable solicitations is to develop new donors. You buy mailing lists, you mine them and you narrow down who responds for further cultivation, and you keep honing the list down to where you get a nucleus of people so committed to your cause they will send in a check every time you ask.

Viguerie, 83, cut his teeth on the evangelical scams of hokum-Jesus artist Billy James Hargis, a Bircher and segregationist who had to resign as president of is Bible College after allegations he pursued sexual visions of Jesus with both male and female students.

In 1976 Viguerie sought the American Independent Party’s presidential nomination only to be passed over for the more fervently racist Governor of Georgia, Lester Maddox.

Viguerie, a beloved figure among North Carolina Republicans, was a true charitable solicitation scammer. As his Wikipedia page notes, “In 1977, Viguerie worked on a project to raise money for Sun Myung Moon's Children's Relief Fund, which reportedly only received 6.3% of the $1,508,256 raised.”

For its part, EDF offers comprehensive financial accounting on its website. They report spending 2% of income on membership and new membership acquisitions out of the $164 million raised last year.

That works out to $8.2 million nationwide for one year. Francis X. De Luca wants to get you slavering over an average of $412,000 a year spent by fundraisers for EDF over an eight-year period.

If you look at the North Carolina Secretary of State’s 2015-16 report on charitable solicitations, scores of charities got zero, or nearly zero, from their telephone campaigns. Francis X. Deluca gives them a pass.

Did the NC Secretary of State ever pursue an enforcement action against EDF or Regan?


Really. You could look it up, like Francis X. De Luca didn’t.

You can see EDF’s IRS Form 990- which allows you to see how much it raised and how it spent it, on EDF’s website.

Its budget is really, embarrassingly, Trump-hands-tiny.

But let’s let Francis X. De Luca get his last words in:

What makes this ironic is Roy Cooper has loudly proclaimed himself the defender of the consumer. In 2011 he actually hired Ken Eudy (now his senior adviser) to do a presentation to the NC Department of Justice on “financial scams.” I guess that presentation didn’t include how to keep radical environmental groups from fleecing our citizens…

Cooper needs to do a better job vetting his nominees and stop nominating controversial, radical environmentalists – who also look like they are fleecing our citizens!

De Luca, having failed to prove EDF has ever run a financial scam, changes the subject to accuse another Cooper advisor who gives De Luca a boner.

And he never proves a thing against Michael Regan. But that isn’t the point when you are a lying machine, is it?

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