Posts tagged "Americans for Prosperity"

crooksandliars:

If old HuckaJesus really thinks that North Korea is that great, I would welcome him joining Dennis Rodman and moving over there so we could be rid of both of them here. From this Saturday’s “Freedom Summit,” sponsored by Citizens United and Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity.

Huckabee hit on everything from the issue with the rancher that he and his network continue to toss gasoline on, to Fast & Furious, to Benghazi, to the IRS, before finally going after the TSA and airport security, and then making the ridiculous comparison between citizens having the right to vote and the security required to enter the White House:

Speakers at the New Hampshire Freedom Summit, which was sponsored by Citizens United and Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity, included Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, all of whom would be top tier presidential contenders should they run.

Donald Trump also spoke.

read more

Two affiliates of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity are helping conservative media promote the cause of a Nevada rancher who has made violent threats against the federal government.

Cliven Bundy, a cattle rancher in Nevada, has refused to remove his animals from public property in violation of a federal court order.  

In 1993, Bundy declined to pay government fees that are required in order to allow his cattle to graze on the public land. In 1998 a court order told Bundy to remove his cattle as part of an effort to protect an endangered desert tortoise in the area. He refused. In July 2013, a federal court order told Bundy to remove his cattle from the land or they would be confiscated. He disobeyed the order, and confiscation has begun. The government will auction the animals and use the proceeds to pay off the $1 million in fines that Bundy owes the government.

Bundy’s ongoing refusal to obey the law and court orders has become a cause célèbre for the conservative media, which has compared the situation to deadly standoffs like Waco and Ruby Ridge.

In recent comments to a conspiracy theorist’s radio show, Bundy said, “I haven’t called no militia or anything like that, but hey it looks like that’s where we’re at.” He added, “We got a strong army here, we have to fight.” Previously Bundy told the Las Vegas Sun that ”he keeps firearms at his ranch” and promised to “do whatever it takes” to defend his cattle being seized, adding, “I abide by almost zero federal laws.”

Earlier this week, protesters and members of the Bundy family had a confrontation with law enforcement, where a stun gun was used to subdue Bundy’s son, who had reportedly climbed on a dump truck when he assumed it contained cattle that had been killed during confiscation. Members of several militia groups have made their way to Bundy’s ranch, reportedly “to protect the Bundys from tyranny.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the conservative non-profit group, was founded by and has been largely funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch. The Center for Media and Democracy reported that in its previous incarnation as Citizens for a Sound Economy, AFP received $12 million of its $18 million in funding from the Koch Family Foundation.

During the 2012 election, AFP spent $122 million in an effort to defeat President Obama and Congressional Democrats. AFP has also sponsored and organized bus rallies and town hall meetings to promote conservative ideas, including deregulation, tax cuts, and opposition to health care reform.

AFP has been at the forefront of spending in the 2014 election, launching several ads attacking the Affordable Care Act which have come under fire for inaccuracy by independent fact checkers. As of March, AFP had aired a reported 17,000 television ads.

Two of its local affiliates, Americans for Prosperity Nevada and Americans for Prosperity Colorado, have become active boosters of Bundy’s actions.

AFP Nevada’s Facebook page posted a graphic attacking the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for spending “one million dollars” to enforce the court order to round up Bundy’s cattle on federal land. Another photo attacked the Bureau for creating a designated “First Amendment Area” for protesters to gather in near the property.

On its Twitter page, AFP Nevada is more strident in its support of Bundy and in attacking the federal government.

AFP Nevada has promoted the hashtag #BundyBattle, which supporters are using to showcase their message. In one tweet, AFP Nevada posted a graphic attacking the cattle round up and said they had a “bone to pick” with the Bureau of Land Management.

Another AFP Nevada tweet attacked the “First Amendment Area” with a photo of cow manure and the caption “This is what we think about ‘First Amendment Areas’.”

AFP Nevada also promoted as a “must read” a blog post from conservative pundit Dana Loesch where she described the standoff as “harassment” from the federal government. The group also accused the BLM of “strategically regulating hard-working Americans out of business.”

AFP Colorado has reposted several of AFP Nevada’s tweets, and has posted commentary of its own about the issue. In one tweet, AFP Colorado has said that the “Fed militarizing of Nevada standoff is bound to fuel more sagebrush rebellion” and that ”Feds turn from landlords to warlords when Nevada rancher won’t bend his knee.”

AFP Colorado also reposted a tweet attacking the “First Amendment Area” from Paul Joseph Watson, a correspondent from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars.

h/t: Oliver Willis at MMFA 

mediamattersforamerica

The teacher-hating GOP extremists backed by ALEC/Koch Brothers are destroying education in this country. 

h/t: Katie Valentine at Climate Progress

What a whinebag she is.
Koch Bros. group leader: Extending Obamacare deadline takes health care from my children (via Raw Story )

MSNBC host Chris Hayes clashed with a state official for the Koch Brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) on Wednesday after she claimed that extending the deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act by two weeks would have a negative…

My home town of Dexter has been in the national news a bit lately. It started when Congressman Tim “the Original Tea Partier” Walberg invited a resident of our Stars Hollow-like village, Julie Boonstra, to be his guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address as a “victim of Obamacare”.

From there, she was featured in an anti-Gary Peters ad by the Koch brothers’ front group Americans for Prosperity, an ad that has gotten more attention after being completely debunked than it would have gotten otherwise.

AFP doubled down, running another ad where Boonstra tearfully cries about being “silenced” by Gary Peters who questioned her veracity. Julie Boonstra may be the loudest “silenced” person this country has ever known.

Now Boonstra is making the news again after an excellent bit of journalism by Detroit News reporter Marisa Schultz tears her already debunked story to shreds:

Boonstra said Monday her new plan she dislikes is the Blue Cross Premier Gold health care plan, which caps patient responsibility for out-of-pocket costs at $5,100 a year, lower than the federal law’s maximum of $6,350 a year. It means the new plan will save her at least $1,200 compared with her former insurance plan she preferred that was ended under Obamacare’s coverage requirements.

A Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan spokesman said the insurer welcomes a chance to help members understand their benefits and alleviate concerns.

“We are here to help people like Ms. Boonstra to work their way through adjusting to the health plans we are now offering them,” the Blue’s Andy Hetzel said. “If there are questions … they should call.”

Boonstra’s old plan cost $1,100 a month in premiums or $13,200 a year, she previously told The News. It didn’t include money she spent on co-pays, prescription drugs and other out-of-pocket expenses.

By contrast, the Blues’ plan premium costs $571 a month or $6,852 for the year. Since out-of-pocket costs are capped at $5,100, including deductibles, the maximum Boonstra would pay this year for all of her cancer treatment is $11,952.

When advised of the details of her Blues’ plan, Boonstra said the idea that it would be cheaper “can’t be true.”

“I personally do not believe that,” Boonstra said.

She cannot believe this very likely because she has been fed a pack of lies by groups who want to exploit her, a woman with life-threatening leukemia, to help achieve their crass political goals.

Americans for Prosperity and other conservative groups and individuals have accused Gary Peters, who wrote a letter to television stations playing the offensive ad to either force AFP to prove their claims or pull the ad, of exploiting the poor, innocent cancer patient. The truth of the matter is that Julie Boonstra IS being exploited. She’s being exploited by the Koch brothers and the chances are good she’s being exploited by her ex-husband. Julie Boonstra was once married to Mark Boonstra, a former chair of the Washtenaw County Republican Party. She is the mother of his children and co-owns a vacant lot with Mr. Boonstra’s next door to his Dexter home:

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Screen shot from Washtenaw County Property/Parcel Lookup website

The fact is, Julie Boonstra will SAVE MONEY with the new plan that she moved to due to the Affordable Care Act. In fact, she’ll save over $1,200 annually. Her big fear about the “unpredictability” of when the bills will come due is all but laughed at by the insurance company spokesperson interviewed for the Detroit News article. Boonstra is literally complaining that she MIGHT have to pay more per month early in the year even though she’ll pay less over the course of the year. There is no risk whatsoever that she won’t be able to afford her medication which will cause her to die.

Ms. Boonstra claims that Harry Reid and Gary Peters owe her an apology. She certainly is owed an apology, but not from Peters or Reid. She is owed an apology from Charles and David Koch, Americans for Prosperity, Tim Walberg, and very possibly from her ex-husband Michigan Court of Appeals Justice Mark Boonstra. They are the ones exploiting a vulnerable woman with leukemia, making her the laughing stock of the country in the process, not the Democrats trying to make sure EVERYONE has access to affordable health insurance. Just like Julie Boonstra now has.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has downgraded Boonstra’s story from “Two Pinocchios” to “Three Pinocchios”:

[O]ne cannot claim that a plan is “unaffordable” when over the course of the year it will provide you with substantial savings. Thus we are changing the rating on this ad from Two Pinocchios to Three Pinocchios.

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Not sure why an outright lie doesn’t merit four Pinocchios but this is a start, I suppose…

H/T: Eclectablog at Daily Kos 

dailykos

As fact checkers investigated and debunked claims made in an ad attacking the Affordable Care Act, Fox News and other conservative media used a cancer patient’s illness to defend the spot’s dishonesty.

The episode is part of an ongoing pattern in the conservative media of promoting anecdotal Obamacare horror stories that have fallen apart under scrutiny.

Michigan resident Julie Boonstra, who is suffering from leukemia, had her existing insurance plan canceled after it failed to meet the law’s new guidelines, which forces insurers to provide more comprehensive coverage than in the past. She later signed up for a new plan, which she has said is too expensive, and came to national attention earlier this year after she repeatedly appeared with Republicans attacking the health care law.

Boonstra was featured in an ad released last week by conservative group Americans for Prosperity saying that her new “out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable.” AFP is largely funded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch; their ad targets Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), who is running for Michigan’s soon-to-be open Senate seat, their second such ad in the state.

But the ad’s claim hasn’t held up. Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler investigated the ad and noted that while Boonstra says that her out of pocket health care costs are now “unaffordable,” her monthly premiums were “cut in half” and that those savings are just two dollars shy of the maximum she would have to pay thanks to the new caps enacted in the law.

Kessler noted, “the premium savings appear to match whatever out-of-pocket costs she now faces.”

He concluded:

It is one thing to say there are higher out-of-pocket costs, as she did at the RNC news conference, but another to assume that those higher costs are not offset in some way by the significantly lower premium. (The $350,000 bone marrow transplant, for instance, would be capped at the out of pocket minimum.) The reality is that eventually Boonstra will hit the maximum and no longer pay anything. So over the course of the year, the difference in the costs could well even out.

The Washington Post isn’t the only outlet calling the ad’s claims into question. Politifact found that the ad is “at worst, misleading and, at best, lacking critical context.” The Detroit News also reported that “The one-minute ad makes no mention that Boonstra successfully enrolled in a new Blue Cross plan where she’s able to retain her University of Michigan oncologist and continues to receive the life-saving oral chemotherapy.”

Lawyers representing Rep. Peters sent a letter to TV stations in Michigan which asked them to demand that AFP “provide the factual documentation for its claims if you are going to continue airing this advertisement” and went on to cite the ad’s factual inaccuracies.

Despite all of this, in comments to the Post and Detroit News, AFP has continued to stand by its ad.

h/t: Oliver Willis at MMFA

H/T:Andy Kroll at Mother Jones

The political network spearheaded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch has expanded into a far-reaching operation of unrivaled complexity, built around a maze of groups that cloaks its donors, according to an analysis of new tax returns and other documents.

The filings show that the network of politically active nonprofit groups backed by the Kochs and fellow donors in the 2012 elections financially outpaced other independent groups on the right and, on its own, matched the long-established national coalition of labor unions that serves as one of the biggest sources of support for Democrats.

The resources and the breadth of the organization make it singular in American politics: an operation conducted outside the campaign finance system, employing an array of groups aimed at stopping what its financiers view as government overreach. Members of the coalition target different constituencies but together have mounted attacks on the new health-care law, federal spending and environmental regulations.

Key players in the Koch-backed network have already begun engaging in the 2014 midterm elections, hiring new staff members to expand operations and strafing House and Senate Democrats with hard-hitting ads over their support for the Affordable Care Act.

Its funders remain largely unknown; the coalition was carefully constructed with extensive legal barriers to shield its donors.

But they have substantial firepower. Together, the 17 conservative groups that made up the network raised at least $407 million during the 2012 campaign, according to the analysis of tax returns by The Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.

A labyrinth of tax-exempt groups and limited-liability companies helps mask the sources of the money, much of which went to voter mobilization and television ads attacking President Obama and congressional Democrats, according to tax filings and campaign finance reports.

The coalition’s revenue surpassed that of the Crossroads organizations, a super PAC and non­profit group co-founded by GOP strategist Karl Rove that together brought in$325 million in the last cycle.

The left has its own financial muscle, of course; unions plowed roughly $400 million into national, state and local elections in 2012. A network of wealthy liberal donors organized by the group Democracy Alliance mustered about $100 million for progressive groups and super PACs in the last election cycle, according to a source familiar with the totals.

The donor network organized by the Kochs — along with funding an array of longtime pro-
Republican groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and Americans for Tax Reform — distributed money to a coalition of groups that share the brothers’ libertarian, free-market perspective. Each group was charged with a specialized task such as youth outreach, Latino engagement or data crunching.

[…]

The structure

Freedom Partners and TC4 Trust moved a large share of their funds through an intermediary group, the Phoenix-based Center to Protect Patient Rights, which served as a major cash turnstile for groups on the right during the past two election cycles. It is run by political operative Sean Noble, who served as a Koch consultant in 2012.

Rather than finance CPPR directly, Freedom Partners and TC4 Trust transferred $129 million to limited-liability companies with changing names that are registered in Delaware, a state that requires corporations to disclose little about their operations: Eleventh Edition (which was renamed Corner Table and then Cactus Wren) and American Commitment (which was SDN, then became Meridian Edition).

Their relationship to CPPR was unknown until May, when the Arizona group acknowledged in amended tax filings that the LLCs were its affiliates.

Such LLCs are known as “disregarded entities,” which means that, for IRS purposes, they do not exist. Their revenue is reported on the balance sheets of their parent organizations.

Tax experts said disregarded entities are typically used by nonprofits to, for example, hold a piece of real estate to shield an organization from liability.

But they also can be used to make it harder to trace the movement of funds between groups. In its final tax return, TC4 reported doling out nearly $28 million to 10 organizations with names such as POFN LLC, PRDIST LLC and TRGN LLC. Those are the affiliates of the groups Public Notice, Americans for Prosperity and Generation Opportunity, in that order.

The Post and the Center for Responsive Politics identified the groups that make up the Koch-backed network through an analysis of tax filings, which revealed their shared DNA. Most have affiliated LLCs and received a substantial share of their revenue from the feeder funds.

The makeup of the coalition was corroborated by people familiar with the structure who said the network is ad hoc and will not necessarily remain constant.

A key player is Americans for Prosperity, the Virginia-based advocacy organization that finances activities across the country and ran an early and relentless television ad assault against Obama during the 2012 campaign. More than $44 million of the $140 million the organization raised in that election cycle came from Koch-linked feeder funds.

Other groups in the network included the American Future Fund, a Des Moines-based nonprofit that poured more than $25 million into ads against Obama and congressional Democrats in 2012; Concerned Women for America, a conservative Christian women’s activist group that ran a get-out-the-vote effort aimed at young women; the Libre Initiative Trust, a Texas-based group aimed at Latinos; Generation Opportunity, which seeks to engage millennials; and Themis Trust, which houses the data used by the allied groups.

The network also distributed funds to other independent political players. In the last election, Freedom Partners and CPPR doled out millions of dollars to a wide assortment of groups on the right, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($3 million), the NRA ($6.6 million), the National Federation of Independent Business ($2.5 million) and Heritage Action for America ($500,000).

Obama’s reelection prompted internal reassessments in the network, as it did among many conservative groups that had worked to defeat him in 2012. But there are no signs that the coalition plans to retreat.

Rather, officials are focused on creating a more effective operation aimed at bolstering the conservative movement for the long term. Freedom Partners, which now has nearly 50 employees, is expected to bring many functions in-house and expand beyond grantmaking, according to people familiar with the plans. Groups such as CPPR are expected to play a smaller role going forward.

See Also: Graphic of the Koch Brothers’ Funding

h/t: Matea Gold at WaPo

H/T: Andy Kroll at Mother Jones

(via questionall)

h/t: Joan McCarter at Daily Kos

If you’ve seen the #GrowMO ads on your TV recently in the State Of Missouri (and surrounding states that have a portion of Missouri in their media markets in them), then you’ll be not surprised to learn that Grow Missouri (#GrowMO) is just another right-wing front group with VERY close ties to that state’s Club For Growth and Americans For Prosperity chapters.

Elizabeth Crisp at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch blog Political Fix:

Missourians could soon see television ads urging them to support a tax cut measure that Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed.

Two of the state’s business groups — the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Associated Industries of Missouri — announced today that they will start airing commercials throughout the state on Monday, asking people to reach out to their lawmakers and push for an override of Nixon’s veto.

The two 30-second spots direct viewers to GrowMissouri.com if they want more information on the tax bill.

Grow Missouri is a political action committee created earlier this week. The PAC reported today that it had received $1.3 million from political mega-donor Rex Sinquefield of St. Louis.

In a 10-part veto message last month, Nixon called the tax cut legislation an “ill-conceived, fiscally irresponsible experiment that would inject far-reaching uncertainty into our economy, undermine our state’s fiscal health and jeopardize basic funding for education and vital public services.”

Here’s a couple of ads by Grow Missouri that are in circulation on TV:

So-called “small business” (really pro-corporatist) group National Federation of Independent Business endorses #GrowMO:

(Cross-Posted from Daily Kos)

Guess who showed up for the Colorado recall effort against Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron? Who else but the Koch brothers and their Super PAC, Americans for Prosperity. Of course the Kochs are there, injecting their millions into helping out their NRA pals undo an election. Here’s the mailer against Morse they’re sending to Colorado voters, and above is a screenshot of part of it.

They announced a month ago that they’d be active in the recall campaign against Morse, even though the tough gun safety law the prompted the NRA’s recall isn’t high up on their list of reasons for trying to oust Morse.

It’s all about taxes and of course, Obamacare for them. Note that they just slapped that picture of Bloomberg in there to allude to the gun issue. The rest of the mailer, though, is all taxes and Obamacare, including the lie that will never die: Obamcare “takes $716 billion from Medicare to pay for new entitlements.” Yep, that $716 billion lie that Mitt Romney flogged to death, the same $716 billion that Paul Ryan included in his budget.

What it’s really about is taking down the powerful Democratic Senate leader in this trending blue state. It’s the Koch brothers’ fight we’ve seen across the country. They’re trying to take over Colorado, just like they did in Wisconsin. Don’t let them.