New justdafacts research has uncovered documents showing that Americans for Prosperity, the Republican party auxiliary operation funded by billionaire heirs Charles and David Koch that was accused yesterday of voter suppression in Wisconsin’s recall elections, spent at least $1.3 million on Wisconsin political activities clearing a path in the years leading to the 2010 Republican takeover of the state’s legislature and Scott Walker's gubernatorial win.
The Koch brothers closely guard details of the $60 million Americans for Prosperity and its foundation raised and spent to benefit the Republican party in recent years. Unlike the political party organizations and candidate campaigns that Americans for Prosperity mimics, the Koch brothers’ group does not disclose its contributors or expenditures, hiding behind IRS section 501(c)3 and 4 nonprofit designations intended for educational institutions and advocacy organizations not directly engaged in influencing elections.
Previous news reports identified $43,000 in Koch contributions to Scott Walker and a $1 million Koch contribution to the Republican Governor’s Association, which paid for advertisements attacking Walker’s Democratic opponent and supporting Walker’s campaign last year.
But my new research uncovers $1.3 million in additional Koch political expenditures all over Wisconsin, most of which showcased Scott Walker. The expenditures were listed in independent audits that Americans for Prosperity was required to submit to at least one state’s charity registrar, breaking down the Koch group’s annual expenditures state by state. (see data with links below) The audits provide annual totals of Americans for Prosperity’s expenditures in Wisconsin, but no details are disclosed. Fortunately, a few months ago blogger Paul I. Tascoupe on PolitiScoop.com catalogued pages and pages of AFP events showcasing Scott Walker all over Wisconsin in the years leading up to his gubernatorial campaign, many with free food and transportation....
In 2007, for instance, Mr. Walker was master of ceremonies at an Americans for Prosperity dinner with Newt Gingrich at the grand ballroom of the upscale Country Springs Hotel in neighboring Waukesha County. “Admission is free!” boasted the event flyer. Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth picked up the tab, while gifting the spotlight to the ambitious Mr. Walker. From a newspaper report at the time…
Before the event, attendees outside munched on grilled brats and listened to live accordion music. Red, white and blue balloons decorated the entrance and the large pink pig, “Ten Pence,” which visited U.S. Rep. David Obey’s district office earlier this week, was parked outside.
In 2008, Walker was front and center when Americans for Prosperity’s “Hot Air Tour & Tailgate for Taxpayers,” arrived in Wisconsin, and for three years in a row he was master of ceremonies at AFP Wisconsin’s “Defending the American Dream Summit,” to which Americans for Prosperity provided free transportation for followers from all corners of the state. What would an “Unlocking Consumerism” roundtable at the swank Wisconsin Club be without Scott Walker? Even my social media friend, Americans for Prosperity national policy director Phil Kerpen, flew out to join Scott Walker for an AFP event in Wisconsin. When AFP brought civil rights icon and conservative activist Roy Innis to testify in Madison against measures to reduce global warming and for private school vouchers, Scott Walker trecked to the capital to join him for breakfast with area black ministers.
Over the three year period, 2007 to 2009, the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity used its lavish budget to elevate Scott Walker from his county executive perch to statewide prominence. Americans for Prosperity’s 2010 expenditures—the year Scott Walker ran for governor and won—won’t be revealed until October or November.
Scott Walker might have gotten elected governor of Wisconsin last year without the benefit of the Koch brothers’ inherited fortune, just like the economic hostage taking tea party congressional caucus might have gotten elected without the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, but absent the Koch brothers and Mr. Murdoch, Americans’ anger and fear over the Bush/GOP economic meltdown might have pointed us toward solutions that just about every policy sage not on the Koch payroll prescribes: Emergency level spending until this disaster is in our rear view mirror, followed by serious deficit reduction through scaling back entitlements enjoyed by the working and middle class and raising taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
Next Tuesday Wisconsin voters in recall districts have a chance to rebuke the Koch brothers and Gov. Scott Walker by removing Republican senators who have betrayed the peoples' trust.
- Steve Lebowitz, Annapolis
AFP Foundation 2007 Wisconsin expenses $260,625, pg. 14, AFP Foundation 2008 Independent Audit filed with WV Secy of State
AFP 2007 Wisconsin expenses $67,994 pg. 9, AFP 2008 Independent Audit filed with WV Secy of State
AFP Foundation 2008 Wisconsin chapter activities $361,580 , pg. 14, AFP Foundation 2009 Independent Audit filed with WV Secy of State
AFP 2008 Wisconsin chapter activities $108,652 pg. 8, AFP 2009 Independent Audit filed with WV Secy of State
AFP Foundation 2009 expenses for Wisconsin $264,206 pg. 14, AFP Foundation 2010 Independent Audit filed with WV Secy of State
AFP 2009 expenses for Wisconsin $217,122 pg. 12 AFP 2010 Independent Audit file with WV Secy of State