Defend democracy in the South.

money in politics

INSTITUTE INDEX: The election deniers running to oversee elections

April 22, 2022 - Scores of people who have publicly spread lies about the results of the 2020 presidential election are seeking to be governor, attorney, or secretary of state — offices that run, oversee, and protect elections. At least 19 of them are running in the seven Southern states holding elections for those offices this year.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Rick Perry's oily plans for an authoritarian America

January 6, 2022 - A text sent to the Trump White House the day after the 2020 election outlining a strategy to have the Supreme Court decide the outcome of the presidential race reportedly came from the phone of former Energy Secretary and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Championing the election's overthrow didn't dim Perry's job prospects, though: He resigned his Trump administration post that December and the following month became a director for the general partner of Energy Transfer, the Dallas-based pipeline company led by billionaire Trump backer and longtime Perry associate Kelcy Warren, whose interests Perry profitably championed in Washington.

INSTITUTE INDEX: How Build Back Better would transform dirty rural electric systems

December 1, 2021 - Born of the New Deal's anti-poverty initiatives, rural electric cooperatives today serve 42 million Americans, most in the South, Midwest, and Great Plains. They still depend heavily on coal, but the $1.8 trillion spending bill passed by the House has a provision giving billions of dollars to speed their transition to renewables. Will it survive corporate Democrats' obstructionism in the Senate?

INSTITUTE INDEX: An opening for change at the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service

November 19, 2021 - The term of Ron Bloom, chair of the U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors, ends on Dec. 8, and hundreds of public-interest organizations are urging President Biden to replace him. They object to his support for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee embroiled in numerous controversies over service cuts, financial conflicts of interest, wage theft, and a pattern of questionable campaign contributions at his former North Carolina-based logistics company.

INSTITUTE INDEX: How Entergy thwarted energy resilience in Louisiana

September 10, 2021 - Hurricane Ida's devastation of Louisiana's electric grid and the deadly power outages that resulted show the risk that highly centralized generation systems present in an era of increasingly destructive climate change-driven weather events. Yet Entergy — a Fortune 500 company that's the main power provider for the hard-hit southeastern part of the state, including New Orleans — has fought plans to move toward cleaner community-based generation. Will Ida mark a turning point?

INSTITUTE INDEX: The money behind disinformation attacks on NC voting machines

July 23, 2021 - Taking a cue from controversial efforts in other states like Arizona and Georgia, North Carolina's far-right House Freedom Caucus — repeating the Big Lie about "rigged elections" — wants to be allowed to open up the state's voting machines and peer inside, but state elections officials say that presents an unacceptable security risk. We look at who's funding the caucus leaders' campaigns.

How Art Pope's money shaped UNC's toxic debate over Nikole Hannah-Jones

July 16, 2021 - Long before journalist Hannah-Jones' tenure fight with the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, the influential conservative policy network built and funded by millionaire businessman and GOP power broker Art Pope had turned its attention to her reporting on racism with attacks and distortions reminiscent of its dishonest treatment of climate science. Pope denied direct involvement in the tenure controversy, but his organizations' messaging carries weight in a UNC system where he's a major donor and serves on the powerful Board of Governors thanks to the Republican legislature he helped elect.