FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RALEIGH – Today, the Civitas Institute released a statement on the nomination of Damon Circosta, executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, to the State Board of Elections and Ethics as the “unaffiliated” ninth member of the board.
“To call the nomination of such an ideological partisan as Circosta ‘surprising’ is an understatement,” said Donald Bryson, president of the Civitas Institute. “If Governor Cooper wants to immediately undermine the bipartisan legitimacy of the State Board of Elections, then this nomination is the one he will accept.”
Burley Mitchell, a respected attorney, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court and head of the Crime Control and Safety Agency has also been nominated. Mitchell is a former Democrat with a long history of public service.
Currently, Circosta serves as the executive director and vice president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, an organization that partners with progressive groups throughout the state, such as North Carolina Justice Center, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and NC Common Cause. These are all groups that can be found in Civitas’ Mapping the Left project, a website that illustrates and exposes North Carolina’s liberal movement. Jim Goodmon, grandson of the late A.J. Fletcher, chairs the foundation.
Prior to his time at the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, Circosta was the executive director of North Carolina Center for Voter Education (now a part of Common Cause North Carolina), a founding member of Blueprint NC.
Blueprint NC is best known for its leaked 2013 strategy memo that detailed the coordinated effort by leftist groups to “eviscerate” and “cripple” Republican leadership.
With the numerous ideologically driven associations and actions tied to Circosta, an appointment by Governor Cooper could only be viewed as a decision to engage in political cronyism.
“The comparison between the two candidates, in terms of level-headed non-partisan judgment, is not close, “said Bryson. “Governor Cooper needs to consider if he wants to appoint a member to the ethics board who has a laudable public record or a member who is bankrolled by one of the largest progressive political donors in North Carolina? Is Governor Cooper willing to give Jim Goodmon the deciding vote on the State Board of Elections?”
Founded in 2005, the Civitas Institute is a Raleigh, NC-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit policy organization that fights to remove barriers to freedom so that all North Carolinians can enjoy a better life.