When Koch Front Groups Collide

Americans For Prosperity, the big-spending conservative "grassroots" group already criticized this year for misleading campaign ads in Colorado, is out with a new TV spot this week attacking three Democratic Colorado Senators up for re-election. From the group's press release yesterday:

Colorado’s largest grassroots free market group, Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, today announced a major expansion of its efforts to hold politicians accountable for ObamaCare. That effort starts today, when the group will use cable television spots, a direct mail campaign and neighborhood walks to hold accountable three Jefferson County lawmakers: Sens. Andy Kerr, Cheri Jahn and Jeanne Nicholson for supporting ObamaCare in Colorado.

The cable spots, which will run July 7 through 28, call out “The Obamacare Three” for helping President Obama’s unpopular health law take hold in Colorado, through expansion of the federal Medicaid program and creation of a state health exchange that’s already fraught with problems. The ads encourage their constituents to call their senator and tell them to stop supporting the failed policy…

What's interesting about this ad is that it goes all the way back to Senate Bill 11-200–the bipartisan legislation that originally created the Connect For Health Colorado insurance marketplace. SB11-200, as our readers know well, became known as the "Amycare" bill after its principal Republican sponsor in the Colorado House, Rep. Amy Stephens. Other Republican sponsors of SB11-200 included Reps. Tom Massey and Ken Summers. On final passage in the Colorado House, Republican "yes" votes on Senate Bill 11-200 included then-House Speaker Frank McNulty, Larry Liston, Cheri Gerou, Carole Murray, Kevin Priola, Robert Ramirez, among others.

So there's that, and for a lot of viewers, omitting the major Republican role in passing SB11-200 is enough to flatten AFP's credibility–assuming, of course, they ever hear the rest of the story. But here's perhaps an even more interesting twist for political junkies: AFP receives a large portion of its funding from influential conservative donors Charles and David Koch, known together as the "Koch brothers." One of the biggest conservative-leaning proponents of Colorado's health insurance exchange legislation, a big reason why there was bipartisan support for the exchange to begin with, is the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB supported the Colorado exchange because the exchanges were, at one time, anyway, considered a "free market" way of expanding access to health care:

NFIB supported the concept of exchanges long before Barak [sic–Pols] Obama was elected President. The exchange concept was not unique to the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act.

Do you think NFIB should tell that to AFP? Especially since they've both taken millions of dollars from the Koch brothers?

In all likelihood, the Koch brothers couldn't care less if these two organizations they fund are working at cross purposes. But the NFIB's support for the very thing that AFP is attacking these Democrats for, with no mention of the many Republicans who helped pass it, underscores what an illegitimate pile of crap this whole attack from AFP is. This one group, Americans For Prosperity, has accounted for a disproportionate share of the "Obamascare" mendacity we've seen on the air this year in Colorado–and so far, blistering fact-checks from the media haven't fazed them.

For anyone who knows the facts that AFP twists, it's outrageous. But how many will find out before the election?

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavieDavie says:

    AFP is definitely on to something.  How many times like me, have you heard people walking down the street saying "I'd rather go bankrupt, suffer and die a horrible death than to carry health insurance!"

    • gumshoe says:

      Alarming to see AFP and the Koch Brother's for playing in CO State Senate races. I will be sending a check to all three of these senators — even Cheri Jahn, who is moderate on most issues. She is needed if Democrats are going to keep a majority. 

    • gertie97 says:

      I hear it. Then again, I live in Mesa County. They won't buy health insurance because it's Obamacare. They won't drink Coke since the company markets its pop to Muslims. They won't shop Target, or anywhere else, if they can't take their gun inside. Sigh.

      • DavieDavie says:

        I know — cutting off your nose to spite your face is a human tendency that has probably been around since the days of the caveman.  

        There could be a cure, but it probably has to start with knowing you have a problem, and realizing you have options.  Another common human failing.

  2. Ralphie says:

    Young people don't think that way, Davie.  They don't want health insurance and they don't want to be fined.  They are "the immortals" — nothing is ever going to happen to them.


    • DavieDavie says:

      Point taken, but the AFP ad above doesn't appear to target the young, and the narrator definitely didn't sound youthful.  Hope they waste a few million running that ad.

      And especially for young adults, the expanded coverage, including contraceptives, would seem to mitigate the "pain" of carrying health insurance.  Hobby Lobby employees certainly aren't buying the GOP/AFP nonsense.

  3. ModeratusModeratus says:

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with Colorado Pols. NFIB supported the exchange legislation, and did so even as they sued to stop Obamacare. AFP should not be muddying the waters for political convenience. As Pols quotes from NFIB, the exchange is a much older idea than Obamacare, and we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    There is plenty to attack in Obamacare that has nothing to do with the exchange, and it's fair to attack the exchange's problems, but don't attack the idea! Republicans fought to make the exchange work in Colorado to prevent the federal government from making it even worse. Kudos to the Republicans who did that.

    • horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

      I think it was punishment rather than kudos.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      ummm… Obamacare is a much older idea than Obamacare. It came straight out of conservative think tanks and was Romneycare in its first incarnation. And no, the think tank original did not specify that it should be only state, not federal, level. That's just a lame excuse offered whenever righties are confronted with the true origin of almost everything that's actually in Obamacare.

      • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

        You gotta give Modster a little credit for staying consistent from his "only Amy Stephens can save us" days. Moddie defended the exchange to defend Stephens, and he could dump it now. I'm just a wee bit impressed that he isn't.

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          YeaaaaNope! . . . 

          He tossed poor ScottyG aside like a box of half-sampled, week-old, grocery store donuts . . . 

          (. . . and, left me to carry-on this November's write-in campaign all by my lonesome.)

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      Unfortunately, I have to agree with Colorado Pols.


      Now that didn't hurt, did it?

  4. doremi says:

    Colorado's largest grass roots free market group?

        AFP is the Koch Brothers.  I find it hard to believe they are really "grassroots."

        Free market — like in our pre-Obamacare system which allowed insurance companies to dump you upon their choice (like when you started having medical expenses, which was what the insurance was all about).   A friend says "Thank God for Obamacare."  She was privately insured last year when she was found to have breast cancer.  She fully believes her insurer would have dropped her this year.

  5. ZappateroZappatero says:

    Koch Brothers becoming an issue unto themsleves:

    “The Koch brothers have become central enough that we ask about them in every poll, regardless of who we’re polling for,” Garin said.

    On average, nearly 60 percent of respondents recognize the Koch brothers’ names, he said, adding that their negatives “are in the high 30s and moving towards the 40s, depending on the state.”

    Invoking the brothers’ names also “helps to negate some of the impact of some of their negative advertisements,” Garin said. “Once people understand that the Koch brothers are behind these ads, people discount what they’re hearing in the ads.”

    And it's quite possible they are hurting themselves in more than one way. But hey, who's to tell these geniuses how to spend their inherited wealth?

    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

      I've wondered about this too. The Kochs were at their most effective before anyone knew who they were. Now, nothing they touch can ever be called grassroots, and their irresponsible groups like AFP are starting to hurt their reputation.

  6. mmw1211 says:

    This ad is just plain ridiculous.

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