By Chad Nance
“Facts speak for themselves.”
– Joyce Krawiec
Even as the Republican Party nationally is trying re-brand themselves as reasonable political actors who can be trusted to behave like grown-ups, the Yadkin County and Forsyth County GOP met on Tuesday night and passed over a seasoned District Attorney and well-liked Republican politician for Tea Party “activist” Joyce Krawiec to represent the people of NC Senate District 31, following the retirement of Pete Brunstetter. (You can read about the close vote HERE.) Krawiec – who works for a corporate astro-turfing front group for dark political money and calls her fellow Americans who do not ascribe to her narrow world view socialist, communist, and fascist – is currently serving as the North Carolina Republican Party co-chair. Joyce Krawiec has a reputation for lying (just ask Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Dist 49), and making public statements declaring that political compromise will end “American Liberty,” and now she will be going to Raleigh to represent a chunk of Forsyth and all of Yadkin County for the Legislative Short Session that begins May 14th.
So who is Joyce Krawiec? According to her own account, she and her husband are real estate developers in Kernersville, focusing their work on building small strip malls in North and South Carolina and went into business in 1989. Beyond that, not much is available about her education or her life before. Most of Krawiec’s actual work has been focused on Tea Party campaigning and her astro-turf organizing efforts on behalf of FreedomWorks, a non-profit that is primarily used to raise “dark money” that is funneled into political campaigns and far-right propaganda efforts. FreedomWorks, by co-founder Dick Armey’s own admission, also bilks rank-and-file Conservatives and the elderly of millions of dollars every year while entering into million-dollar contracts with gold scam salesman and conspiracy monger Glenn Beck as well AM Radio king Rush Limbaugh.
The primary function of FreedomWorks has been to astro-turf the Tea Party movement, essentially using the organization as a corporate front to pump big money from anonymous donors into political races and local Tea Party groups in order to create the illusion that it isn’t a corporate lobbying operation and is a grassroots “movement.” The group began as a conservative political group funded by David Koch (whose father founded the John Birch Society) called Citizens for a Sound Economy. Before the group morphed into FreedomWorks, Krawiec was the local President of CSE and later their 2003 National Activist of the Year Award-winner. That group was also accused of “astro-turfing” and acting as a false front group for right-wing lobbying efforts. The conservative National Review reported at the time that “Even some business lobbyists acknowledged that CSE has at times served as a fig leaf for corporate lobbying efforts.”
In 2004, CSE split, with part of the organization becoming Americans for Prosperity, led by President Nancy Pfotenhauer. The rest of the organization merged with Empower America and was renamed FreedomWorks, led by President and CEO Matt Kibbe, with Dick Armey, Jack Kemp and Winston-Salem’s own son C. Boyden Gray serving as co-chairmen. In 2012, FreedomWorks funneled millions of dollars from unidentified donors into the FreedomWorks PAC, which then targeted Republican lawmakers like Orin Hatch and Richard Lugar in an effort to purge the Republican Party of voices and politicians that might be seen as moderate.
In 2012, The Washington Post reported that Richard Stephenson, a millionaire banker and FreedomWorks board member, along with members of his family, funneled $12 million in October 2012 through two newly created Tennessee corporations into the coffers of the FreedomWorks’ super-PAC. Those funds were then used to support Tea Party candidates in November’s elections. The revelation that a corporate honcho like Stephenson, who founded the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and chairs its board, was responsible for more than half of the FreedomWorks super-PAC’s haul in 2012 undercuts the group’s grassroots image and hands ammunition to critics who say FreedomWorks does the bidding of rich conservative donors. FreedomWorks, with coffers full of wealthy donors’ money, took full advantage of lax campaign finance rules during the 2012 election cycle, and the group’s nonprofit side shifted millions of dollars in dark money to the FreedomWorks super-PAC, effectively hiding the true source of the cash. Now the group is fighting efforts to limit new IRS regulations on how directly involved non-profits can become in political campaigns without having to reveal who gives them money.
Other critics, including former FreedomWorks founder Dick Armey, have accused FreedomWorks of essentially morphing into a scam that uses fear tactics to fleece money from working class and senior conservatives. Krawiec herself makes a strenuous effort to appear to be a Christian Conservative, stating on her Forsyth County GOP questionnaire that, “My faith determines my actions.” FreedomWorks and her former boss, however, have been accused of taking advantage of Christian voters and donations while mocking them as dupes. Dick Armey himself famously stated about Christian Conservatives:
“Where in the hell did this Terri Schiavo thing come from? There’s not a conservative, Constitution-loving, separation-of-powers guy alive in the world that could have wanted that bill on the floor… [James] Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies. I pray devoutly every day, but being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid.”
Also in her Forsyth County GOP questionnaire, Krawiec stated that her “ability to work with those of opposing views” was a reason she should have a North Carolina State Senate seat. This is, of course, is typical politician positioning. In her on-line postings Krawiec likes to throw insults at her political opponents such as:
“Democrats are like a bunch of spoiled children.”
She has also attacked NC state lawmakers who don’t agree with her stance on immigration, and disparaged the entirety of Wake County. In a comment posted on a militia/Tea Party site, NCRenegade.com, she took shots when she (without irony) accused state Rep. Deborah Ross (D-Wake) of being “Nuts:”
Even more troubling than her belligerent attitude toward her opposition is the other content on the NCRenegades site which Krawiec frequents and comments on posts. Beyond race baiting and conspiracy theories, the site also offers videos with “Militia Training” where the host predicts that there is a violent clash between citizens and the US Government coming. From the video (embedded at end of article):
“We are being forced into a situation with current legislation anytime our government can call me a terrorist because I have guns, I go to church, I home school my children, I, um, I stock food. That was the first step. The second step- uh, they are definitely doing more legislation- I’m not going to go into all of these legislations that are out there. They have passed that are on the books. They are also stock-piling lots of ammunition… now I have read a report where they have just bought 2700 armored vehicles. There is a side preparing for war. Then I look at the American Patriots, the Americans, and I meet a lot of people who are preparing for war too…there are people in power who are working their evil plan and that is the confiscation of firearms.”
Krawiec’s own page on the Tea Party Nation site displays an ad depicting the President of the United States posed like Joseph Stalin with a link to a site that promises to teach Americans how to “disappear” from a “tyrannical” government. Far from an ability or willingness to reach across the aisle in any way, Krawiec supports these kinds of un-American and divisive ads while publicly stating that legislative compromise leads to “Tyranny.” At a Winston-Salem Tea Party rally, in which 2012 Forsyth Co. State Senate hopeful (with priors for assaulting women) Reggie Reid also spoke, Krawiec went all-in, calling her fellow Americans “Socialist,” “Communist,” and “Fascist:”
“We Know compromise is something that has to be done. We elect men and women to represent us, in Raleigh and in Washington, and they compromise because they want to get things done. And we’ve been doing that for 40-50 years. But if you’ve got liberalism, socialism, fascism, communism- whatever you want to call it over here, and you’ve got Liberty and Freedom over here- We’ve done our compromising for 50 years toward the tyranny, and the liberalism, and the socialism. We’re all about compromise, but you’re going to compromise our way for a while. We are finally drawing a line in the sand and we are saying ‘no more’.”
Krawiec shows disdain and contempt for anyone who does not agree with her world view, which cannot be said to demonstrate “an ability to work with others.” Presumably, if she were actually elected to go to Raleigh in 2014, she will have no interest representing all of the people of the 31st District- only those who agree with and vote for her.
Krawiec has an extensive online trail – from a defense of Enron criminals on Amazon.com to her own blog posts, which feature, among other comments, anti-Latino rhetoric which suggests deporting undocumented workers “One at a time.”
It is yet to be seen if mainstream Republicans and independent voters in the 31st will warm to Krawiec’s divisive rhetoric. Like conspiracy theory spouting Forsyth County school board member Jeannie Metcalf, who introduced Krawiec at Tuesday night’s GOP meeting, the interim State Senator and possible future candidate likes to spread theories about dark and dastardly conspiracies. Krawiec has even gone as far as writing a blog post on her Mouth of the South blog positing that the Federal Government may one day ship senior citizens to Mexico in order to take advantage of cheaper healthcare available south of the Border.
Controversy and lies have been a part of Krawiec’s most recent posting as co-chair for the North Carolina Republican Party. She won that seat by campaigning vigorously (her campaign manager in that effort is now working for wannabe theocrat and Senate hopeful Rev. Mark Harris) although the Executive Committee meeting in which she was voted in has been a sharp point of contention for Tea Party activists. The more conservative and grassroots elements of the North Carolina Tea Party have accused Krawiec of collaborating with “Establishment Republicans” following her election along with Art Pope’s cousin, Claude, to gain her top GOP post. Tea Party activists have said that during the meeting where Pope and Krawiec were voted in, Pope took ram-rod control and shoved a slate of his own establishment political machine picks for staff down the throats of Tea Party activists and true believers.
Krawiec’s most notable move while holding the Vice-Chair has been to falsely accuse Sen. Martin Nesbitt (whom she will now have to try to work with) of calling embattled head of the NCDHHS, Aldona Woz, a “witch.” Nesbitt did no such thing, and audio recordings exposed Krawiec’s lie, yet she continued to push the issue and demand Sen. Nesbitt apologize for something he did not do.
Former Forsyth County District Attorney Tom Keith has indicated that he will primary Krawiec- a decision that will be made by the voters of the 31st District on May 6th. The one certainty for political junkies in Forsyth County is that the Spring of 2014 will be an interesting one. Keith and the far more divisive Kraweic will go head to head while the only candidate the Democrats have so far managed to field is Kernersville’s David W. Moore- a guy who has no institutional love from the Forsyth County Democratic Party. Moore’s mercurial and head-scratching political proclamations, bizarre defense of North Carolina’s embattled Democratic chairman Randy Voller (including online threats against a Raleigh based Democratic political consultant), and his well documented criminal record – which includes charges of domestic violence – put him far away from any real chances of winning. That leaves Keith and Krawiec for the whole ball game in the primary, and geography may enter into that contest on May 6th. Moore and Krawiec come out of Kernersville while Keith hails from Clemmons- much closer to voters in Yadkin County who will still have a say on May 6th. No matter how it washes out on May 6th… the game is certainly on.
Speech Full Video
Militia Training at NCRenegade