Tillis Chases Big Money For His Campaigns Instead of Doing His Job For North Carolina
Small donors giving less than $200 account for less than five percent of all the campaign funds Senator Tillis has raised since 2015.
In May of 2019, Tillis skipped out on his job and missed an important Veterans Affairs Committee hearing to attend a high-dollar fundraiser in Greensboro.
It’s part of a pattern. In July 2013, then-Speaker of the House Thom Tillis skirted anti-corruption rules to raise millions of dollars for his U.S. Senate campaign. North Carolina bans state lawmakers from raising money from lobbyists while the legislature is in session – but Tillis was happy to take the money into his federal campaign account.
Within weeks of announcing his Senate campaign, Tillis went to a campaign fundraiser with donors interested in legislation he oversaw as Speaker of the North Carolina House.
A super PAC supporting Tillis raised $70,000 from George A. Sywassink, R. Doyle Parrish and W.G. Champion Mitchell. Then the State House appointed the three donors to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Board of Governors under Tillis’ leadership.
When he was in the North Carolina House, including when serving as Speaker, Tillis skirted around rules set forth by the North Carolina legislature that prevented lawmakers from raising money from PACs with registered lobbyists and accepted $30,900 in career campaign contributions from registered lobbyists during sessions.
Tillis Is Siding With Pharmaceutical and Insurance Companies Over North Carolinians
Tillis’ campaigns and leadership PAC have received over $200,000 from the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.
Tillis’ campaigns and leadership PACs have additionally received $59,000 from the health insurance industry, including from Anthem, UnitedHealth Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and Humana.
Contributions from big pharma companies and the health insurance industry have showed their effect on Tillis’ votes in the Senate, including voting for the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) in July of 2017, which would have given pharmaceutical manufacturers a $28 billion tax cut.
In addition, the BCRA would have gut protections for preexisting conditions, increase premiums, and allow insurers to charge older adults five times as much as younger adults.
Tillis Owes His Senate Career To Millions of Dollars From Outside Corporate Special Interests
In 2014, outside groups spent over $13 million boosting Tillis’ campaign and over $20 million opposing his opponent, Kay Hagan.
Tillis was aided by a single-candidate super PAC, Grow NC Strong, which spent over $660,000 in the 2014 North Carolina Senate election cycle.
A dark money group, Carolina Rising, spent nearly $5 million on ads supporting Tillis’ campaign to defeat incumbent Kay Hagan in 2014.
Despite being classified as a social welfare group, Carolina Rising spent 97 percent of the millions it raised on Tillis, and the group reported having no employees or volunteers.
Of the $4.9 million Carolina Rising raised in its first year, $4.8 million is widely speculated to be sourced back to Art Pope, a conservative mega-donor who plays an influential role in North Carolina GOP political fundraising.
In total, dark money groups spent over $17.3 million on Tillis’ behalf throughout the 2014 election.