Under External Investigation, N.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans Wage an Internal Civil WarBreaking News
tags: Confederacy, Sons of Confederate Veterans
In March 2019, Bill Starnes emailed his neo-Confederate colleagues to discuss what he saw as a need for more political influence in their movement.
Thanks to law enforcement, “it is not likely our current struggle will require the use of weapons to any high degree,” wrote Starnes, a lead officer and de facto enforcer for the North Carolina division of Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. Instead, Starnes urged his membership to take steps toward greater political involvement, including one they could take immediately: Give more money to the NC Heritage PAC, a pro-Republican fundraising outfit that he and other N.C. SCV leaders had been running for years.
“We have men there,” Starnes wrote. “We can immediately provide them with funds to get the right folks in office.”
Less than a year after Starnes sent that email, the State Board of Elections opened an investigation into the political action committee. A coup-minded crusade of current and former N.C. SCV members exposed the operation from within, intensifying a schism in the group that has taken an increasingly public face ever since.
Now, Board of Elections Investigator Matthew Martucci has what one neo-Confederate describes as “a thick-ass file” in an ongoing investigation that’s scrutinizing the N.C. SCV for running the Heritage PAC in violation of its own tax-exempt status, and funding it through a separate illegal scheme for years, according to multiple people familiar with the matter, including the PAC’s co-treasurer and a dissenting SCV member who is assisting the investigation. Martucci declined to comment.
Since its inception in early 2016, the Heritage PAC has allowed the neo-Confederate group to raise money from its underlings, shuffle it to supportive Republicans under a different name, and avoid paying taxes on the effort by exploiting nonprofit law. The Heritage PAC has given at least $28,500 to various Republican campaign committees since it launched, including $3,500 to Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler—who has for years ensured a booth for the N.C. SCV at the Raleigh State Fair—and $2,500 to both House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger.
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