Posted by: Ann Corcoran | August 31, 2012

Tampa: One half of the here-to-fore “secretive” Koch brothers talks a lot

AFP funder supports gay marriage!  Higher taxes!

There is a lot of information coming out of Tampa these days (maybe because there is a lot of partying going on), but here is an interesting interview with David Koch at Politico that helped answer some of my questions about Americans for Prosperity in Maryland.

He pays the bills, he can call the shots, but Tea Partiers need to know exactly where they stand.  (emphasis mine)

TAMPA, Fla. – Billionaire industrialist David Koch, who is helping steer millions of dollars to elect Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans, on Thursday told POLITICO he disagrees with the GOP’s stance on gay marriage and believes the U.S. needs to consider raising taxes to balance the budget.

Koch, who is serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention from New York, spoke to POLITICO after delivering brief remarks at a reception held in his honor by Americans for Prosperity, the political advocacy group he chairs and has helped fund.

[….]

Despite a wave of scrutiny from the press and criticism from liberals up to and including President Barack Obama, Koch said Thursday he plans to continue his big-money political activism regardless of the results of the 2012 election.

“Yeah, we’re in this for the long haul, you know?” he told POLITICO when asked if he intended to continue being politically active if Romney loses the 2012 presidential race to Obama.

Koch also said he now considers himself a Republican first and foremost – rather than a Libertarian or a non-partisan supporter of free enterprise – despite a background in Libertarian politics and some views that are out of step with the GOP orthodoxy.

“The Libertarian Party is a great concept. I love the ideals, but it got too far off the deep end, and so I dropped out,” Koch said. “I think the Republican Party has a great chance of being successful and that’s why I support it,” he said, adding “but I believe in the libertarian principles.”

After his speech in a rented office near the arena hosting the convention to about 200 activists and politicians – including Sens. Ron Johnson, Jon Kyl and John Boozman – Koch mingled and posed for photos with a stream of well-wishers.

Do you remember the other day when I asked (here) why AFP Maryland needed to go campaign in Virginia instead of working for some really good “conservative” candidates in Maryland?   I was told by some readers that AFP doesn’t support specific candidates.  Well, well, then I see reported at Politico that they are indeed helping one Senate candidate—old Republican pol (pal?) Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin.

He asked former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, now being bolstered in his Senate campaign by Americans for Prosperity ads, how the electoral landscape looked in the Badger State. And, when one woman thanked him “for what you do for America,” he responded, “we’re going to try to do even more.”

Koch declined to comment on a POLITICO report that he and his older brother Charles plan to steer nearly $400 million ahead of the 2012 election to conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity, which has aired millions of dollars in attack ads against Obama and his congressional allies.

Time for Tea Partiers to stop being ‘rent-a-mobs’ for the Kochs!  They don’t sound “conservative” to me!

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a revolution coming on.  More on Tampa, next!


Responses

  1. AFP’s tax status makes it illegal for them to support candidates directly, by name. So they explain their activity in Virginia as focusing on issues like ObamaCare, which of course is aimed at helping the Republican candidates there. It’s true that Virginia is more likely to vote for Romney than Maryland, and can use extra help to push it that way. But I agree that Maryland has some very important competitive races that could use the same kind of help. George Allen is an establishment candidate and I’m sure he has plenty of money. The same amount of activity and money directed toward Dan Bongino would have a much larger effect. Jim DeMint’s PAC is now supporting Dan. I don’t see why AFP doesn’t, as well as Roscoe Bartlett. It is obvious that despite nominal state chapters, AFP is focused on national politics.

    • Yes, except the article specifically says they are running ads for Tommy Thompson? So what is up with that?

      • It looks like this must be the ad, posted at the Wisconsin chapter’s website.
        http://americansforprosperity.org/wisconsin/newsroom/tammy-baldwin-stop-the-wasteful-spending/

        It’s aimed at Thompson’s opponent, Tammy Baldwin, and it’s ostensibly about an issue. I just looked AFP has both a foundation (501.c.3) and a lobbying arm (501.c.4, I surmise). 501.c.4 groups can do more in elections than c.3 groups. Here are the rules, as listed:

        501(c)(4)s MAY
        · engage in all of the nonpartisan voter education activity that a 501(c)(3) can engage in
        · engage in unlimited lobbying, including work on ballot measures
        · endorse federal candidates for office to the organization’s membership and share the endorsement with the organization’s press list
        · expressly advocate for a federal candidate’s election or defeat when communicating with the organization’s membership
        · in some states, make cash or in-kind contributions to state or local candidates
        · create an affiliated 527 organization (more commonly known as a political action committee):

        501(c)(4)s MAY NOT:
        · make communications to the general public that include express advocacy for a federal candidate
        · make cash or in-kind contributions to federal candidates
        · coordinate communications with a federal candidate or party
        · engage in electoral activity as the organization’s primary activity

        The ad doesn’t make express advocacy for Tommy Thompson; it doesn’t mention his name. Here it is:
        http://americansforprosperity.org/wisconsin/newsroom/tammy-baldwin-stop-the-wasteful-spending/

        There is a similar one against Kaine in Virginia; like the Wisconsin one it doesn’t mention the Republican candidate.
        http://americansforprosperity.org/virginia/smarter-spending/

        I’m sure the Kochs would provide the resources for top-notch legal advice, so these ads are no doubt within the election law.

        It is clear that it is legal for AFP Maryland to campaign about our ballot referendum issues. It could certainly endorse Dan Bongino and announce that to its membership and the press. And it could provide ads against Sen. Ben Cardin.

      • Judy, thanks for all that info… dashed out this a.m. and am just now seeing it!

  2. AFP hasn’t endorsed anyone in Maryland, not even Ehrlich or Harris. Wargotz never got a look. I guess that’s fair that they’re not endorsing Dan or Roscoe either.

    Disappointing none the less


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