by Jim Stirling
Research Fellow, John Locke Foundation
Few things shock me regarding political campaigns, whether that be an extreme exaggeration of candidates’ positions, overblown scandals spread on social media, or blatant fearmongering to get just a few more voters to come out for their preferred candidate. With all the white noise that comes with election season, many things fall under the radar, even blatant coordination efforts between PACs and local candidates to get out the vote.
With only a few days until election day, I stumbled upon campaign coordination between the North Carolina PAC “Neighbors on Call” and various Democratic candidates facing tough elections this year. The PAC’s director Susan Blount illustrated that coordination in Neighbors on Call’s “Canvassing 101” tutorial. In it, she showcases an example of the Democratic party canvassing app “MiniVAN,” stating, “The voter responses we collect help the campaigns plan and execute their strategies.”
The PAC has targeted key races in North Carolina to assist the Democratic party and help prevent Republican Supermajorities. All the candidates they are assisting are in key districts Republicans could flip to retake supermajorities in both chambers; this includes:
The organization blatantly states that its members work with candidates and neighbors on Call Coordinators for these canvassing efforts. The organization’s training manual includes the candidate’s campaign manager as part of the “support system” for canvassers.
Neighbors on Call utilized the North Carolina Democratic party’s canvassing and phone banking systems to reach out to voters. They have been sharing the information collected from this outreach with Democratic candidates. This indicates a level of access to the Democratic parties canvassing data and a $ 10,000-a-month operating system owned by NGP VAN, a data company that markets itself as the leading technology provider to Democrat and progress campaigns. North Carolina law dictates that PACs cannot give or receive more than $5,600 from any committee, including a party committee. I have submitted a complaint to the North Carolina State Board of Elections about that violation. You can find the formal complaint and evidence presented to the state board here.
Exhibit A: Neighbors on Call “Guide to liking, or tolerating, phone banks.” https://www.neighborsoncall.org/_files/ugd/966d63_851558b1f3ae40119ba56a7139dd5c52.pdf
Exhibit B: Neighbors on Call Canvassing tutorial.
Exhibit C: Neighbors on Call 2020 phone banking tutorial and canvassing for Sydney Batch
Exhibit D: Phone banking event by Neighbors on Call Event for Terence Everitt
Exhibit F: NC Democratic Party Federal FEC report, NGP Van Cost 2022
Neighbors on Call and the Democratic party have made clear that they are working together in a coordinated effort to get Democrats across the line in several of the state’s most contested elections. The PACs recently released third-quarter report shows a direct financial tie with all three Wake County Candidates dragging these candidates and their committees into potentially coordinated campaign expenditures.