by David N. Bass
Contributor, Carolina Journal
Bloomberg columnist Al Hunt got it dead wrong. And that’s being charitable.
In a recent syndicated column (picked up by the News & Observer), Hunt stated that the John William Pope Foundation, a nonprofit foundation prohibited by federal law from giving to any cause aside from a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity, has given millions to the Republican Party.
One would think that such a gross misrepresentation of the facts would catch an editor’s eye. Unfortunately, this false statement survived and made it into syndication.
My boss, David Riggs (executive vice president of the Pope Foundation), corrected the record in this letter to the editor appearing in today’s News & Observer (emphasis mine):
The Aug. 20 Other Opinion piece “The massacre of the N.C. model” by Bloomberg’s Al Hunt contained false statements about Art Pope and the John William Pope Foundation.
Hunt wrote, “Pope has given to the Republican Party through his political action committee, foundations and personal contributions.” This is unequivocally false. Art Pope is a proud Republican, but he does not have his own political action committee. His personal contributions to the Republican Party do not come close to $1 million, even over his lifetime.
The Pope Foundation, a charitable organization, has never contributed anything to the Republican Party. By reprinting Hunt’s false statement that the Pope Foundation contributed to the Republican Party, you falsely accused the foundation of a major violation of the IRS Code and campaign finance laws.
The Pope Foundation has given millions of dollars to charities, including humanitarian, arts, education and public policy nonprofits. Humanitarian charity helps those in immediate need, treating the symptoms of poverty. The Pope Foundation’s support for public policy groups and those empowering individuals has the long-term goal of curing the underlying causes of poverty.
Publishing the false and defamatory statement that the Pope Foundation gives to the Republican Party was a disservice both to your readers and to the charities supported by the Pope Foundation.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, JOHN WILLIAM POPE FOUNDATION