- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 8, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A political action committee that can take unlimited contributions from donors has been formed with the primary goal of helping Republican Dan Forest get re-elected as North Carolina’s lieutenant governor in 2016.

Organizers of the Truth and Prosperity “super PAC” announced Tuesday include a Charlotte political consultant and an interior design company president who’s helped Forest in the past. The group’s executive director, Alfredo Rodriguez, anticipates it will produce radio and television ads supporting Forest. A 60-second video praising Forest is already on the group’s website.

Forest, a Raleigh architect, won by about 7,000 votes in 2012 over Democrat Linda Coleman. He filed his candidacy paperwork Monday and held a kickoff event in the evening. Two Democrats have already filed to try to unseat him, including Coleman.

Truth and Prosperity, labeled a “527” group based on the portion of the Internal Revenue Code through which it’s organized, can receive unlimited donations from individuals and business. Documents filed with the State Board of Elections shows CBI Services already giving $50,000 to Truth and Prosperity.

CBI Services is one of many companies owned by David Longo, the group’s treasurer. Longo, who has known Forest for more than 20 years, gave $12,000 to Forest’s campaign committee for the 2012 elections, according to campaign finance reports. And another Longo company has loaned furniture to the state for Forest’s Raleigh office, the Hawkins-Hartness House.

The lieutenant governor’s campaign committee and Truth and Prosperity are barred from coordinating their activities. Donors are limited in how much they can give to Forest’s campaign.

Pro-Forest supporters assembled another super PAC late in the 2012 election cycle to counteract independent ads run by the political action committee of the State Employees Association of North Carolina supporting Coleman. Longo gave to the 2012 pro-Forest independent expenditure committee as well, according to campaign records.

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