Former staffers of Art Pope-backed groups to join Speaker Tillis’ staff
In a press release issued Tuesday, Rep. Thom Tillis, likely the next House speaker of the North Carolina General Assembly, named members of his staff. Among the hires are two staffers who formerly worked for conservative organizations funded primarily by activist and businessman Art Pope.
Chris Hayes, who will serve as the speaker’s policy adviser, leaves his position as senior legislative analyst at the Civitas Institute. Jason Kay will serve as general counsel for Tillis. Kay previously held the job of senior staff attorney at the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law. He was also a law professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
A report published in October of 2010 by the Institute for Southern Studies shows that “Pope’s backing has constituted more than 99 percent of all the grants, donations and gifts that Civitas has received between 2005 and 2009.” The report details Pope’s influence on major conservative organizations in North Carolina: “The $2.5 million the Pope Foundation has given since 2004 to the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, a legal outfit ‘fighting for freedom and fairness,’ accounts for 93 percent of that’ group’s income over that period.”