James “Art” Pope is the CEO of Variety Wholesalers, a discount retail chain he inherited from his father, and chairman of the...
James “Art” Pope is the CEO of Variety Wholesalers, a discount retail chain he inherited from his father, and chairman of the John William Pope Foundation.
Pope is an influential financier of libertarian causes within his home state of North Carolina as well as on the national level. Pope has direct experience in the politics of his state as a four-time member of North Carolina’s House of Representatives, a two-time delegate for the Republican National Convention, and as special counsel to the governor.
"I will not be shut up."
-News Observer, October 28, 2010
According to the Institute for Southern Studies, Art Pope shares heavy political capital with Charles and David Koch, using wealth from his family foundation to heavily finance groups that are involved in denying the existence, science or seriousness of global warming. While the Koch’s gave $48.5 million to organizations in the climate denial machine from 1997-2008, Pope single-handedly contributed $24.1 million. The Kochs tie for fifth on Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans; Pope does not make the list.
Pope shares heavy influence with the Kochs over the astroturf organization Americans for Prosperity (AFP); he is a director of AFP as well as the vice chairman of its sister organization, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. While governing both groups, Pope is also the second-largest institutional contributor to the AFP Foundation, giving over $1 million to the organization from 1997-2008.
Pope has almost exclusively funded conservative North Carolina think tanks like Civitas Action, which has strong ties to Americans For Prosperity’s North Carolina chapter, and the John Locke Foundation, which Pope chairs and has donated over $16 million since 1997. The John Locke Foundation claims, “There is nothing North Carolina can do, either by itself or in conjunction with other states, that will have a noticeable or beneficial impact on the climate,” and works to undo state commitments to increase the use of renewable energy through Senate Bill 3 (SB3), a law passed in 2007. John Locke Foundations’ climate-related recommendations are simple: “Abandon all state attempts to fight global warming,” and “Repeal already adopted legislation such as SB3.”