MoveOn Asheville: Corporate spending in NC Senate election is out of control

About 40 concerned citizens gathered at Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville this afternoon, Oct. 12, to demonstrate against what they see as the negative impact of corporate and right-wing front groups on elections in North Carolina. The event was organized by the local chapter of the progressive MoveOn.Org Political Action Committee and featured speeches by Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell, Local Edge Radio hostess Lesley Groetsch and MoveOn N.C. Regional Coordinator Randy Bernard.

At the event, Bernard presented a study called “Buying America” that asserts that nationally, “right-wing front groups have already run $34.5 million worth of ads for backing Republicans in Senate races alone,” compared to $4.2 million in ads backing Democrats. In North Carolina, the study reports, $126,764 has already been spent by “corporate and right-wing special interests to help re-elect Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr,” who is being challenged this year by Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Democrat.

The study faults the January Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC for increasing the amount of corporate money in politics, claiming that the ruling gave “special interests the power to spend without limit — and without public disclosure.” According to the report, 32 percent of groups buying election ads nationwide have disclosed the names of their donors this year, compared to 97 percent in 2006.

In addition to decrying the increases in corporate campaign spending, Groetsch urged attendees to vote for Marshall, criticizing Burr for “siding with corporate interests” on a number of issues, from health reform to bills that would regulate oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and expand national parks around the country.

Bothwell announced at the demonstration that he would like to withdraw the City of Asheville’s support of the local Chamber of Commerce, due to the national organization’s frequent support of Republican candidates. He also proclaimed his support for Marshall and Democrat Buncombe State Assembly candidates — Patsy Keever, Susan Fisher, Jane Whilden. Bothwell also mentioned that he’s going to devote his 60th birthday on Saturday, Oct. 16, as a fundraiser for the “four progressive women who I want to see get elected this year.”

Bothwell went on to assail national media outlets for their lack of covering the influx of corporate money into the election process.

“It’s no secret why the big media don’t report on you here today. They don’t report on what MoveOn’s doing nationwide because they don’t like the idea that people might spend less money on campaigns and buy less advertising,” he asserted. “We need to end the influence of corporations on our elections.”

Photos by Jerry Nelson and Kim Gongre


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19 thoughts on “MoveOn Asheville: Corporate spending in NC Senate election is out of control

  1. J

    Gotta love It’s never, ever about politics and steamrolling your opponents in a dishonest fashion; it’s just about the people.

    I guess they just ran out of time to focus on Obama’s donors, such as Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Google,Time Warner, IBM…

    The best part is that it’s totally cool to partake in a group who’s CEO has been convicted of insider trading. One of the most regressive actions you could take.

    Corporate donors bad, insider trading good.

    • lindalaveck

      The fact that MoveOn is not a corporation, is supported solely by our member donations, and there is no CEO means that you don’t know squat about anything. How is it going 4 years later, living with an empty head?

  2. J

    Thank you Margaret for going out of your way to provide a listing of McCain’s corporate donors. When you compare McCain and Obama’s totals, we can now see that Obama raked in much more than McCain did from the corporate donors.

    As long as we’re in a comparing mode, Jane Whilden got money from BCBS and the NC Pork Council:

    Susan Fisher received money from Enterprise Rent-A-Car:

    So Bothwell went to the event that protested corporate donations and then promoted candidates that receive money from corporations, albeit indirectly. Makes perfect sense.

  3. Lawrence Cohen

    The simple solution is that democrats should be more business friendly. So long as democrats support legislation that is going to put larger burdens on small and big business, killing profits, jobs, AND our economy, then they are just going to have to deal with it.

    On another note, your Messiah was put into the White House with record individual donations. Maybe yall just need to find better candidates….

  4. Stewart David


    Foreign interests are buying our elections. Soon we’ll be a third world country, with most of our jobs overseas and our middle class gone. You are correct, Obama takes money from evil sources, too. But please, stick to the issue at hand. The tea party folks are right to be outraged, but they are outraged at the wrong thing. The problem is that money is corrupting government. Now it’s foreign money, and that’s even worse. Let’s work for publicly funded elections, it’s the only answer.

  5. Paul -V-

    MoveOn: Totally not a tool of the corporate-controlled Democratic Party. SO STOP SAYING THAT!!!

  6. JWTJr

    Interesting how a gigantic front group doesn’t like other front groups. No surprise there I guess. However, it sounds more like censorship than a concern over political speech. No surprise from the left who has turned from their 60’s roots of free speech for all to their current model of free speech for them only.

  7. VladEmrick

    Cecil Bothwell, the local chamber of commerce has no affiliation with the national US Chamber of Commerce.

  8. UnaffiliatedVoter

    I see their signs ‘Secret Corporate Money Destroys
    Democracy’ …

    First, America is NOT a democracy, and word fails to appear in the US Constitution.

    Second, MoooveOn was STARTED by mega corp flunkies and George SOROS, one of the most EVIL RICH MEN in the world!

    Ignorance GLOWS in Asheville …

  9. JWTJr

    I’d like to hear Cecil explain how his gigantic front group is any different from all the others out there.

    My bet is it boils down to he agrees with what they say and that justifies it.

    I suspect he’ll have to check with the puppet master Soros before he gets back to us.

  10. Piffy!

    [b]I’d like to hear … how his gigantic front group is any different from all the others out there.[/b]

    Well, you could take the time to research the difference yourself. You could, for example look at who funds these specific groups you are referring to, the nature of their approach in disseminating info (is it factual or non-factual?), and the amount of transparency they have in their motivations.

    Or, you could make a vague assertion that ‘they’ are ‘all the same’ without even providing a modicum of supporting evidence.

    [b]I suspect he’ll have to check with the puppet master Soros before he gets back to us. [/b]

    Because Cecil bothwell takes orders from George Soros? It would appear your right-wing talking points are getting a bit tired.

    [b]Or is it just more censorship of opposing views? [/b]

    Is that supposed to refer to anything?

  11. Piffy!

    [b]Now that America has had a taste of the Left’s Radical Agenda with two years of Obama’s March to Socialism, I expect that voters will have something to say about that on November 2nd[/b]

    How ANYONE could make such broad-reaching, ridiculously partisan claims is beyond me. Such Hubris like “March to Socialism” about a President arguably more fiscally conservative than Reagan makes me laugh. “The left’s Radical agenda” is basically only slightly different (in reality, not partisan talking-point land) from the actions of either party for the last 3 decades. To pretend the Democrats are ‘radical leftists’ is about as sensible as saying the Right are Nazi’s. There’s hardly a lick of truth to it.

    Not to mention the absurdity of trying to say any election is a refutation of any larger policy issues when we all know the American public historically swings manically between both parties. It was ridiculous when the Democrats said so after Obama’s election, and it’s ridiculous when Republicans claim it today (or when they said so in 1996).

  12. JWTJr

    We are talking here. That’s what the article is about. That org is full of dirty tricks just like the orgs they are pointing fingers at. They are no different and alluding that they are is partisan and hypocritical.

    • lindalaveck

      What dirty tricks? Let’s have some specifics. Inquiring minds want to know.

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