This Week in Shameless CYA PR: Koch Edition

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 13 2013 7:46 PM

This Week in Shameless CYA PR: Koch Edition

As soon as Politico published one of the week's best scoops—the first IRS records for Freedom Parteners, a "trade association" created by the Kochs to hand money to conservative groups—I wondered how Koch Facts would handle it. The records answered, at last, questions about who had funded Americans for Prosperity and the 60 Plus Association and the American Future Fund and other groups that came out of obscurity (or of less political activity) to fund ads across America. It featured the usual Kochworld players, who show up in all of the high-level ventures, like Kevin Gentry and Richard Fink.

The story ran on Sept. 11. One day later, a response from Koch Facts:

Freedom Partners is a non-profit, non-partisan business league that promotes the benefits of free markets and a free society. Freedom Partners operates as a 501(c)(6) organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service.
According to its website, Freedom Partners has more than 200 members and is governed by a board of directors. It operates independently of Koch Industries, and educates the public about a broad range of issues.
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Ah, the website! Freedom Partners, build by attendees of Koch conferences in the years leading up to 2012, spending its money in that election, does indeed have a website. It has four sections, illustrated with clip art, about topics of concern. According to WhoIs.com's tracking, it was only launched on Sept. 4, 2013, a week before the Politico story, and 10 months after the last election. Nice work if you can get it, hurriedly assembling a website in a few days in order to create shamparency.* Left undiscussed on the site is how "trade associations" aren't usually just coalitions of different and unnamed industries that want to spend money in politics.

*My sort of clumsy portmaneau for "sham transprency"

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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