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Welcome to WNC CONFIDENTIAL, a new Carolina Public Press feature about official secrets and public disclosures — all from, about or relating to the mountain region. Every other Thursday, we’ll give you the key to recent revelations and put hard-to-find records at your fingertips.
Redistricting plans recently approved by the U.S. Department of Justice are changing congressional representation in Western North Carolina.
U.S. Congressional District 10 currently encompasses Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Lincoln and Mitchell counties and portions of Gaston, Iredell and Rutherford counties. U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Republican who lives in Gaston County, has represented the 10th District since his election to Congress in 2004.
Buncombe, Clay, Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey counties make up U.S. Congressional District 11. U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, a Democrat who lives in Haywood County, has represented the 11th District since he was elected in 2006.
The North Carolina General Assembly this summer approved a redistricting plan for the U.S. House of Representatives. The new 10th District now includes the city of Asheville in Buncombe County, and the new 11th District now includes Avery, Burke, Caldwell and Mitchell counties.
Against the backdrop of the changing congressional districts, here’s a look at some public record information about the campaign finances of Western North Carolina’s U.S. Representatives:
According to reports to the Federal Election Commission about the 2011-2012 election cycle, McHenry raised $209,370 in itemized individual donations, $9,144 in unitemized individual contributions, $238,013 from political action committees and had $34 in operating expenditures offsets through Sept. 30 for total receipts of $456,561.
For the same election cycle and also through Sept. 30, Shuler raised $108,550 in itemized individual contributions, $10,805 in unitemized individual contributions, $273,000 from political action committees and had $10,295 in operating expenditures offsets for total receipts of $402,761.
OpenSecrets.org, which is produced by the Center for Responsive Politics and is a nonpartisan guide to finances in U.S. elections and public policy, reports that McHenry was the top recipient in the House of contributions from finance and credit companies, with that sector giving him $63,000 so far for the 2012 election cycle.
OpenSecrets.org reports that for the 2012 election cycle, McHenry raised 40 percent of his contributions from out-of-state donors while Shuler raised 62 percent from contributors outside North Carolina.
Shuler’s top campaign contributors for 2011-2012 included AmericPAC: The Fund for a Greater America; Blue Dog PAC; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, according to OpenSecrets.org.The website specifies that “the organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organization’s PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families.”
Top industries that donated to Shuler’s reelection campaign included pharmaceuticals/health products; industrial unions; insurance; retail sales; lawyers/law firms.
Shuler serves on the House Budget Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
McHenry’s top campaign contributors for the same period included Wells Fargo; Advance America Cash Advance Centers; Amscot Financial; Moneytree Inc.; and PricewaterhouseCoopers, OpenSecrets.org reports.
The top business sectors giving money to McHenry’s campaign were finance/credit companies; accountants; commercial banks; insurance; and securities and investment.
McHenry serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
To dive into more data…
Both the Federal Election Commission website and OpenSecrets.org have extensive, searchable online collections of public records information related to campaign finances.