INSTITUTE INDEX: Outside corporate interests spend big on NC high court race

Amount the NC Chamber IE, a conservative-leaning super PAC operated by the NC Chamber of Commerce, has reported spending so far this year on TV ads supporting two conservatives running for the state Supreme Court seat now held by Justice Robin Hudson, a Democrat, with the top two vote-getters headed for a runoff: $225,000

Amount the NC Chamber IE in turn received this year from North Carolina-based tobacco giant Reynolds American: $100,000

From Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina: $75,000

From Koch Industries, the Kansas-based oil and chemical conglomerate: $50,000

Amount Blue Cross Blue Shield, Reynolds American, various Chamber of Commerce entities, and Koch Industries have contributed collectively this year to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), a Washington, DC-based super PAC: over $2.5 million

Amount the RSLC contributed on April 23 to Justice for All NC, a conservative-leaning super PAC that's been heavily involved in recent North Carolina Supreme Court races: $650,000

Amount Justice for All NC is spending on TV ads attacking Justice Hudson for being soft on child molesters because of a dissent she wrote, joined by the only other two women justices, in which they questioned the legality and effectiveness of satellite-based monitoring of some sex offenders: over $586,000

Total reported amount spent to date on ads for that NC Supreme Court race, including expenditures by both outside groups and the candidates themselves: over $1 million

Of that total, percent spent by outside groups: over 75 percent

Number of previous NC Supreme Court primary races with this level of spending: 0

Number of outside groups that have reported spending on Hudson's behalf: 0

Amount Hudson's campaign has reported spending on its own ad buys: $86,320

Amount her Republican challenger Jeanette Doran’s campaign has reported spending on ads: $0

During the previous election cycle, amount Justice for All NC spent to benefit conservative state Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby in his successful run against Democrat Sam Ervin: more than $1.6 million

Total amount that outside groups not officially connected to Newby or Ervin poured into the 2012 NC Supreme Court race: more than $2.8 million

Percent of the spending that benefited Newby: 90

Year in which North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature killed the state's popular public financing program for judicial races, giving corporate interests greater influence over the state's courts: 2013

Percent of eligible candidates, both liberals and conservatives, who had used the program, which awarded grants to campaigns that raised at least 350 small donations and agreed to strict spending limits: 80

Date on which Art Pope -- state budget director, Variety Wholesalers CEO, and leading financier of conservative groups that worked to end the public campaign fund -- visited a Republican lawmaker who had offered an amendment to save the program, after which the representative dropped the proposal: 6/11/2013

Number of years that Doran, one of Hudson's conservative challengers, served as executive director of the NC Institute for Constitutional Law, a group that opposes public financing and to which Pope's family foundation has contributed millions of dollars: 8.5

Number of years Doran has served as a judge: 0

(Click on figure to go to source.)