Thanks to the intrepid reporting of Lee Fang, and a couple of bloggers at OpenSecrets.org doing some digging.
Koch Operative Steered $55 Million To Front Groups Airing Ads Against Democrats; Ads Assailed Candidates Over Abortion, 9/11, Medicare
by Lee Fang, republicreport.org -- May 19th 2012
Charles and David Koch, the billionaire owners of of Koch Industries, are known as big spenders when it comes to lobbying and influencing public policy. Now, a new document filed with the IRS reveals how the Koch political machine funneled over $54.5 million in previously undisclosed funds to a litany of front groups designed to smear Democrats.
Sean Noble, a Republican consultant, was hired to help administer the Koch war chest. According to Politico, Noble was part of a group of GOP operatives who met regularly with Karl Rove’s Super PAC to target 120 House of Representatives races in 2010. The close coordination was pivotal in helping the Republican Party capture 63 seats in one of the biggest midterm election landslides in modern history.
Yesterday afternoon, OpenSecrets.org bloggers Viveca Novak and Robert Maguire were the first to flag a tax form filed by an obscure Arizona-based foundation called the Center to Protect Patients’ Rights [...] The Center acted as a pass-through to distribute $44,599,946 in grants in 2010, and $10,783,500 the year before. Novak and Maguire also reported that the Center’s tax forms were prepared by at least one employee of the DCI Group, a lobbying business.
-- The American Future Fund, which received $12,965,000 from the Center, ran ads that helped to defeat Democratic incumbents including John Spratt (D-SC), Mark Schauer (D-MI), Bobby Bright (D-AL), Chet Edwards (D-TX), Phil Hare (D-IL), Baron Hill (D-IN), and Travis Childers (D-MS). As we’ve noted, the group is also responsible for an ad campaign that hit Democrats for supporting a New York mosque at Ground Zero, allegedly built to honor the terrorists’ victory on 9/11. In reality, the ads misquoted the lawmakers, and the mosque in question was a planned community center headed by a cleric who has worked for the government, including the Bush administration, for years to promote peace.
[... several more front groups listed ...]
And you thought it was a grassroot-astroturf movement, that swept House in 2010.
American Future Fund Ad - Fork in the Road - Stephanie Herseth Sandlin SD
New Ad from special interest American Future Fund repeats false attack - Mark Schauer MI
Do you notice a "forking" pattern?
Not if only one of these Ads, runs in your own local district. Probably not.
There were dozens of these same Cookie-cutter ads, targeting Democrats locally in the last election, with one sweeping Koch-enabled paintbrush.
Or was it more like a Koch sledge-hammer ... ?
Digby explains how the Koch's BIG-Money funneling scam works ...
by digby, digbysblog.blogspot.com -- May 19, 2012
Interesting how they laundered it, isn't it? You can see why. It's obviously better for them that everyone believes that there are numerous groups with varied interests just exercising their rights to free speech as a grassroots uprising took the country by storm rather than a very small group of high level wealthy Republicans buying themselves elections.
Here's the scam:In all, Koch operative Sean Noble channeled grants to two dozen 501(c)4 nonprofits. As Stephen Colbert has covered, 501(c)4 nonprofits, which he refers to as “Spooky PACs,” can act like Super PACs -- raising and spending unlimited corporate, union and individual contributions -- but do not have to disclose a dime in terms of where the money is coming from.
The disclosure of Noble’s outfit is the biggest window we’ve seen recently into who purchased the current composition of Congress two years ago. Before this disclosure, the Koch network could only be tied to a few disclosed donations during the 2010 election: about $30-45 million reportedly raised by Americans for Prosperity, the attack-ad sponsoring Tea Party front founded by David Koch, over $2 million in contributions to political action committees through Koch PAC, and $1,050,450 in donations to the Republican Governors Association. The Center’s $55 million grant budget, raised possibly in connection to the Koch fundraisers -- one of which Sean Noble and some of the wealthiest Republican billionaires in the country attended only months before the midterm elections -- certainly raises the stakes in terms of calculating how much the current Republican Congress owe their current political fortunes to the Koch machine. [...]
This is how campaigns are bought and sold.
This is what must be changed.
American Future Fund's Cookie Cutter Ad -- Insert Candidate Name Here
by jamess -- Oct 16, 2010
UPDATE: Keith Olbermann covered the AFF story back in the day. (youtube 'squashed' the original clip, but thankfully not the American Future Fund's video reply ...)
In the last election GOP Front Groups are outspent the Dem Response Ads trying to set their records straight -- by a 7 to 1 margin.
Dems are being outspent by Corporate Speech. Period.
Who's Buying US Elections? Young Turks -- Cenk Uygur
American Future Fund's Cookie Cutter Ad formula --
Get flashy graphic, and a menacing announcer;
Cut and Paste in -- the Name of the Candidate, your backers dislike and have paid to replace!
Don't Fact Check anything -- make your Opponents waste their Time and Money trying to combat your baseless accusation. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
That's what Free Speech has been commoditized to -- in this evermore oppressive age of Corporate rule.
Bought and paid for by Koch.