This is appalling but not at all surprising.
Americans for Prosperity today announced a seven-figure ad buy to support its multi-million-dollar effort urging Virginians to vote against Ralph Northam in the race for governor. The punchy 30-second spot underscores how Ralph Northam ignored his statutory responsibility to supervise the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), which in turn was duped out of 1.4 million in taxpayer dollars by a fake Chinese company. This is AFP’s first television ad in the Virginia governor’s race.
The ad itself is slick but highly misleading/dishonest/slimy. I’ll let the Northam campaign respond to this garbage on its merits, or lack thereof. I just wanted to briefly review what the Koch brothers and their group, Americans for Prosperity, are all about.
First, I recommend Tim Dickinson’s masterful Rolling Stone piece on the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire, which explains how the “Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they’ve cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House.” The article further explains that Koch Industries “has paid out record civil and criminal environmental penalties” over the years; that the company “rank[s] among the top 30 polluters of America’s air, water and climate”; that it’s “been the target of numerous federal investigations, resulting in several indictments and convictions, as well as a whole host of fines and penalties”; and how “Koch Industries has used its political might to beat back the very market-based mechanisms – including a cap-and-trade market for carbon pollution – needed to create the ownership rights for pollution that Charles says would improve the functioning of capitalism.” In short, these guys are the worst of the worst. No wonder they’re supporting “Enron Ed” Gillespie.
Second, just to give you a feel for what the Kochtopus’ “Americans for Prosperity” is all about, if you’re not familiar with them, here are a few high…er, lowlights from their oeuvre.
- They’re huge climate science deniers who once ran a “Hot Air Tour campaign, a hot air balloon cross-country tour with the slogan, ‘Global Warming Alarmism: Lost Jobs, Higher Taxes, Less Freedom.’”
- They “created an offshoot front group called Patients United Now, which organized what is estimated to be in excess of three hundred rallies against health-care reform…In 2009 Americans for Prosperity, along with The 912 Project, was one of the conservative groups involved in organizing ‘town hall protests’ and ‘recess rallies’ where participants oppose health care reform by rambunctiously shouting down members of Congress while they are holding public meetings to inform the public about the proposals.”
- “In July 2013, Americans for Prosperity started an ad campaign aimed at young women in an effort to capture swing voters for the 2014 midterm elections. One of the ads features a young mother with a chronically ill child…The ad is directly misleading, providing viewers with false information.”
- “In a 2013 study, researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found links between the Tea Party movement and ‘tobacco industry efforts to oppose smoking restrictions and tobacco taxes beginning in the 1980s,’ as reported by the university.”
It goes on and on like this, but the bottom line is that if the Koch brothers/Americans for Prosperity is involved, you know it’s going to be some combination of: a) dishonest; b) slimy; c) nasty; d) malicious; e) funded by fossil fuel interests; etc.
So here they are, throwing “seven figures” into sliming the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia, and into propping up their corrupt, fossil-fuel-loving soulmate Ed Gillespie. If there was any question previously who to vote for in this election, this ad campaign by some of the worst people in America should help to clarify all Virginians’ minds.