The Art Pope Index: Pope's influence by the numbers

StackOfMoney.jpgNorth Carolina's most politically powerful unelected individual, Art Pope has spent tens of millions of dollars pushing the state to the right. Where does his money come from, where does it go and what impact is it having? Art Pope Exposed runs the numbers.

Amount of money that Art Pope, a discount-store millionaire and North Carolina's leading conservative benefactor, has pumped into his favorite causes over the past decade: $40 million

Amount of the total that went to a network of North Carolina think tanks and advocacy groups that push ultra-conservative views: $35 million

Amount of the total that went directly into state and national politics: $3 million

Total estimated value of Pope's family foundation, which draws its wealth from Variety Wholesalers, a discount retail company: nearly $150 million

Median household income in the neighborhoods the company favors for its stores: $40,000

Minimum percentage of African-Americans in the neighborhoods the company targets: 25

Amount Pope has invested in Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative advocacy group and a force behind the tea party movement, and on whose board of directors he serves: $2.2 million

Amount he has invested in the John Locke Foundation, a conservative North Carolina think tank he co-founded and on whose board he serves: $19.7 million

Percent of the John Locke Foundation's income over the past decade that Pope's contributions represent: 79

Amount Pope contributed during that same period to the Civitas Institute, another conservative think tank: $8 million

To the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law: $3.3 million

To the Pope Center for Higher Education: $3 million

Percent of the budgets of those four North Carolina groups provided by Pope: over 90

Amount that three independent groups backed by Art Pope -- Americans for Prosperity, Civitas Action and Real Jobs NC -- spent supporting Republicans in 22 N.C. legislative races in 2010: nearly $2 million

Amount donated to those three groups by Variety Wholesalers: at least $470,000

Amount contributed to 19 of those legislative races by Pope and his family members: $252,000

Percent of those races won by Republicans: 78%

Percent of the outside spending in the 2010 N.C. election that came from groups connected to Pope: 75

Last time both houses of the N.C. legislature, captured by the Republicans in that election, were controlled by the GOP: 1870

Current number of Democrats in North Carolina's congressional delegation: 7

Number of Republicans: 6

Number of those Democrats whose seats have been put at risk because of how the GOP legislature re-drew the electoral maps in the redistricting process: 4

Click on figure to go to source. An earlier version of this story appeared at Facing South, online magazine of the Institute for Southern Studies.

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