Nonprofit Profile: Americans for Prosperity
Type of organization: 501(c)(4)
Supports: Conservative candidates
Opposes: Barack Obama, Democrats
Location: Arlington, VA.
Finances (calendar year 2010):
Total revenue: $22 million
Total expenses: $24 million
Net assets: $43,000
Tim Phillips, president, has made the rounds as a pundit on Fox News, MSNBC, and CBS. He co-founded the political consulting and public relations firm Century Strategies with Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed.
Art Pope, director, is an heir to a retail industry fortune and a former North Carolina state legislator who remains a major player in the state’s politics.
The Virginia-based 501c(4) with a network of 34 state affiliates is known for drawing support from the conservative billionaire Koch brothers and for “incubating” the tea party movement. The group emerged in 2004 as a spinoff of Citizens for a Sound Economy, an organization founded in 1984 by Charles and David Koch.
AFP supports “cutting taxes and government spending in order to halt the encroachment of government in the economic lives of citizens” and “removing unnecessary barriers to entrepreneurship and opportunity by sparking citizen involvement in the regulatory process.” In 2011 Phillips bragged that AFP had cultivated “the rise of Republican candidates who question or deny climate science.”
The (c)(4) shares resources, office space, and staff with Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a 501(c)(3) — whose chairman as of 2010 was David Koch. Watchdog groups have reported that the AFP Foundation gets millions from a variety of conservative foundations including the Koch-controlled Claude R. Lambe Foundation, which gave $1 million between 2004 and 2006.
Most recently, Americans for Prosperity, launched a bus tour of the state, sent field staff to Wisconsin, and spent $3 million on issue ads in the state ahead of the recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. At one rally, Phillips called Walker’s controversial reforms “a new model for the country.”
At the federal level, the organization reported $68,000 in spending this cycle on ads targeting President Barack Obama. In January, the group also spent a reported on an ad targeting Obama over the Solyndra scandal — though that spending does not show up on FEC filings.
In 2010, it spent $1.3 million on independent expenditures, mostly targeting Democratic candidates in 45 House races.
See more data on Americans for Prosperity at OpenSecrets.org.
“Happy Birthday, President Reagan,” released Feb., 2012, depicts “two visions of America” by alternating between the sober warnings of President Barack Obama and the uplifting dictums of the late President Ronald Reagan.
An April, 2012 ad criticizes Obama’s green jobs and stimulus plan. The ad urges viewers to call the White House and tell Obama: “American tax dollars should help American taxpayers.” Its claims have come under scrutiny.
In 2010, the group’s ad blitz focused on Democratic candidates for the House. It spent the most on Arkansas’ Chad Causey (who lost), running an ad calling him a “Washington yes man,” for supporting the stimulus bill. The ad mixes its messages, also accusing him of saying “no” to an anti-tax pledge.
Reprinted by permission from iWatch News