by Jim Stirling
Research Fellow, John Locke Foundation
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has been fighting criminal charges filed against his campaign after airing a misleading ad against his opponent in the 2020 election. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freema pursued charges around August of 2022, but it has been stalled in Federal courts as Stein questioned the constitutionality of the law. GS. 163-274(a)(9) states it is a class 2 misdemeanor to run a false or derogatory report against a political opponent if a candidate knows that information to be false.
In September, Stein quickly set up a legal defense fund to finance efforts to dismiss the charges and strike the law down. The committee has received only a single contribution of $150,000. The donor, David Isaac Cohen, a former VP of Goldman Sachs and owner of Charlotte Based Simcah Management, has been a longtime supporter of Stein. He has hosted high-dollar fundraisers and made significant contributions to Stein’s campaigns since his first run for senate in 2009.
Cohen has recently extended his contributions beyond Stein and his campaign committee, donating $590,000 to the State Democratic party and their leadership committee from 2016-2020. That made him one of North Carolina’s top 10 donors in 2019.
Cohen’s influence expands well beyond just North Carolina and Josh Stein. He has contributed over $360,000.00 to Democracy Engine. Capital Research Center’s Influence Watch describes Democracy Engine as a fundraising platform commonly used by the Democratic party and left-leaning nonprofits.