Koch Network Goes After Democrats for Criticizing/Accepting Big Outside Spending

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 31 2014 3:43 PM

Koch Network Goes After Democrats for Criticizing/Accepting Big Outside Spending

If you watch TV, or TV online, or online video of any kind—look, if you're a sentient human living in America right now, you see lots of GEICO ads. The insurance company's ad strategy basically consists of omnipresence, of telling any joke that might work for any audience. It's what I thought of immediately after seeing a pair of ads from American Encore and American Committment.

What are these groups? American Encore is the new iteration of the Center to Protect Patient Rights, which, as a lengthy ProPublica investigation explained, was a conduit for political spending from the Koch network. Now, as was the case under the old name, the group is run by Sean Noble. His group distributed $182 million in the 2010 and 2012 cycles, but doesn't have to disclose the source of its donors. We only know from disclosures from previous campaigns, and from finance investigations in California, that the Koch network seeded the money for this ad and others now running against Democrats who've been criticizing undisclosed spending.

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In that ad, we're told that Democrats are wrong, wrong, wrong to attack campaign spending by wealthy philanthropists. But hours after this went up, another ad—with the same narrator, and some similar video clips—emerged from American Commitment. Founded in 2012 by Phil Kerpen, who'd been a vice president at David Koch's Americans for Prosperity, American Commitment initially got seed money from the Center to Protect Patient Rights. It's using $50,000 to put this ad on the air in D.C. and some swing states.

Where once a comforting female voice told us to stand up for free-speech rights, now the same voice is telling us of the threat posed by two wealthy brothers who happen to be named something besides "Koch." Give them this: There's clearly no illegal coordination happening.

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