Giuliani, Dole, Burr, Shuler expected
at Civitas Raleigh event
McHenry is one of many elected officials whose presence legitimizes a self-described conservative group known for its partisan activities that violate federal rules for 501(c)3 tax exempt organizations. Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani is expected, as well as senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr.
Federal 501(c)3 tax exempt organizations are not allowed to participate in lobbying or partisan activity.
Yet, several who have attended Civitas events agree that the organization leaders don't even try to hide it's partisan political goals. According to one attendee:
At a 2006 Civitas workshop, subjects included how to recruit Republican candidates, how to run Republican campaigns, as well as talking points against the current North Carolina Democratic administration. Civitas President Jack Hawke said he hoped the training would give Republicans "a better understanding of what we're up against." He then joked, "But, of course, we're a nonpartisan organization. Wink. Wink."11th District Congressional representative (and Democrat) Heath Shuler's appearance is even harder to explain. Here's what Screwy Hoolie reported that Shuler spokesman, Andrew Whalen has said:
“Generally, the idea behind it is that as Democrats we must speak to all people whether we agree with them or not. We can change no minds if we don’t make our case. As I said on the phone when you mentioned the Republican “Machine,” us standing across the street and railing against the machine does nothing, but by crossing the street we can have an effect on that machine. If there is one young person there whose mind opens up after hearing Congressman Shuler speak, we’ve had an important effect.The problem with Shuler's appearance: we wish he would appear before law-abiding conservatives. We'd love for him to "open minds up" without providing cover for an organization clearly violating federal tax laws.