Speaking of buying elections: Politico has obtained a memo that says the billionaire Koch brothers plan to spend $125 million this year, in part through their Americans for Prosperity front, to elect Republicans. They’ve already spent $35 million to defeat swing Democratic senators such as Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
I suspect Koch dollars are at work in important state Senate races in Arkansas. If Bill Sample, Bruce Holland or John Burris fails to win Republican primaries against tea baggers, continuation of the private option version of the Medicaid expansion financed by the federal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) could be killed in Arkansas. The wreckage of state government would follow. Republican Asa Hutchinson, who’s trying to finesse Obamacare in his race for governor (except for expressing zero concern for the 150,000 people who’d lose their health coverage lifeline if the worst comes to pass) might find himself with a prize of limited value.
Never thought I’d see the day I’d pull for Sample or Fireball. In the Republican-only race in Mountain Home, Burris is easier to endorse. You can’t fault him for not understanding the biggest political issue of our day
But back to the Kochs and the Politico scoop:
An AFP spokesman declined to comment on its 2014 budget, but did not dispute the authenticity of the memo. It details the group’s efforts to beef up its field operation in key counties, and to deploy a new “closed-loop data system in which volunteer and membership information is automatically updated” for access by phone bankers and canvassers roaming neighborhoods with tablets.
The plans — combined with those of other groups in the sprawling political operation affiliated with the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch — more closely resemble the traditional functions of a national political party than a network of private nonprofit groups.
The goal of the network is a long-term movement to expand the political playing field for conservatives — both into new states and into non-traditional demographics including millennial, Hispanic and low-income voters.
AFP’s $125-million projected 2014 budget alone would also exceed the total 2012 fundraising hauls of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or the National Republican Senatorial Committee.