Blueprint North Carolina continues to catch heat for a series of memos leaked last week to the Observer and WRAL. The memos outlined strategies and talking points for progressives to attack state Republican leaders.
The most incendiary memo called for liberals to weaken the GOP's ability to govern by "crippling their leaders" and to "eviscerate their leadership," even by hiring private investigators.
The story on the memos has gotten a lot of play on conservative blogs and web sites, including the Drudge Report. Monday the N.C. Republican Party filed complaints with the the state board of elections and the IRS, claiming that the group violated its nonprofit status by wading into partisan politics.
Blueprint is a nonprofit that offers what executive director Sean Kosofsky calls "back office" services to other progressive advocacy groups. Kosofsky, who first confirmed his group emailed the memos, later distanced it from the "crippling" memo, saying his group didn't send it out and suggesting that somebody had done a memo mash-up to make his group look bad.
He did acknowledge having seen the controversial memo at a December meeting of progressive groups. WRAL reporter Mark Binker picked up the story from there.
"Asked it was appropriate for his organization to participate in meetings where such memos are distributed and whether he endorsed all the ideas in the memo," Binker wrote, "Kosofsky replied via email:
"Darn right. C3 nonprofits should absolutely try to stop bad policies that hurt the poor and hurt the environment, women and the middle class. If they need to exploit weaknesses of lawmakers, they should. I stand by that.
"The meeting in December was of over 50 organizations. People bring their own idea. I am not going to claim or distance myself from things without greater context. The only thing that matters to Blueprint is what Blueprint does. I cannot speak for others. We cannot be held to what others do at meetings we are at. that is completely unfair.
"I am not going to cherry pick ideas from that draft plan and say which ones we approve of or disapprove of. I will say this...The stakes are high for the people of NC. This governor and legislature are approving raises for their cabinet while gutting benefits for folks already injured by unemployment. Blueprint and our partners are passionate advocates for policy passed in the public interest, not passed for special interests. Our partners can educate the public, educate lawmakers and absolutely hold them accountable when they vote against the interests of the people of NC. the public should know that charitable groups can and do advocate strongly. they should. Blueprint doesn't lobby or do any public advocacy. This isn't about us at all."