Political hit piece called “laughable” by Greensboro residents

An independent PAC operated by a former Jesse Helms foot soldier made
big news in Greensboro this week with a political attack piece
targeting Sixth District Congressional candidate Mark Walker.

The card, mailed on April 16, hit Walker for his service on the
Greensboro War Memorial Commission, which oversees the Coliseum
Complex. The debate over funding of the coliseum is an annual show in
Greensboro, with budget hawks pointing to the perpetual shortfall in
operating revenues specific to the venue opposed by boosters who point
to the throngs of people who come into the city and spend money around
town. This, they argue, increases overall tax revenue and offsets the
debt specific to the building itself.

The coliseum director, Matt Brown, is also one of the highest paid
city employees, and is often a target of conservative ire given his
robust salary.

Keep Conservatives United, an independent political action committee
based in Wake Forest, mailed the card. According to their campaign
finance report filed April 18, the group spent $18,373 on the piece.
The card shows a picture of Walker, obscured by parted venetian
blinds, with the bold headline “Hiding from his record of running up
deficits and wasting taxpayer dollars.”

In his campaign bio, Walker touts his service on the commission, which
is a volunteer oversight board without legislative control of its
budget.

Walker did not appear to respond publicly to the card, but several
prominent supporters in Greensboro called it “laughable.”

Former Rhino Times publisher, William Hammer, wrote an extended
Facebook statement along with a picture he posted of the card.

“It’s very unusual that I get a piece of mail that makes me burst out
laughing,” Hammer wrote. “But that is exactly what I did when I pulled
an oversized postcard from my mailbox that said Congressional
candidate Mark Walker was “Hiding from his Record.””

The post was heavily shared and commented upon, with agreements coming
from a prominent Republican couple and the wife of a state legislator,
among others.

Keep Conservatives United, the group that mailed the card, is the
brainchild of former Jesse Helms researcher Bob Harris. Harris started
the group in 2009 to support Michelle Bachman against Rick Perry in
early right-wing jockeying for position in advance of the 2012
presidential election. Harris has kept the group active, working for
several congressional candidates, including Renee Ellmers, George
Holding and Robert Pittenger.

Harris has repeatedly endorsed Walker’s opponent in the Sixth District
race, Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., a fact not
lost on many who commented via social media about the direct mail
piece.

Records show that Harris paid Richmond, Va.-based Creative Direct LLC
to produce the card. The finance report also shows a second piece
aimed at Walker set to be mailed on April 21.

The group received one contribution recently, a $25,000 influx from
Pita Raleigh LLC, a nebulous company created by former Republican
candidate for governor, Bill Graham, an attorney from Salisbury. The
contribution was received on April 9.

Keep Conservatives United also made a $5,000 contribution to the NC
Values Coalition. The group made several joint appearances with Berger
Jr. during the run up to the anti-gay marriage vote on Amendment One
in 2012.

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