Astroturfing – A professional political campaign disguised as a ‘grassroots’ uprising (astroturf is artificial grass). Also used to claim that a political opponent’s supporters are motivated not by honest philosophical disagreement but by coarse opportunism. [….]
Brace yourselves. The right wingnut surrogate attack mail piece deluge has started. A piece attacking Jason Kander (D) (and President Barack Obama) paid for by the astroturf group Americans for Prosperity arrived in yesterday’s mail:
Apparently they believe President Obama is less popular than George W. Bush (r) at the same point in his presidency.
Because in the entire era before Obamacare our health insurance premiums never went up. They must really believe almost everyone is stupid. They may be right.
The “paid for” disclaimer is for Americans for Prosperity. The return address is for Americans for Prosperity – Missouri. A lobbying principal’s search at the Missouri Ethics Commission yields:
AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY – MISSOURI 1301 VANDIVER DR STE Q COLUMBIA, MO 65202 [….]
Jeremy Cady PO Box 1634 Jefferson City, MO 65102 [….]
Same address as the return address on the mailing.
Right, a real grassroots organization needs a professional lobbyist? How quaint.
And, from the Federal Election Commission:
ITEMIZED INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES
FILING FEC-1097771 [pdf]
Committee: AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY
To Address Expenditure Description Date of Public Distribution/Dissemination Support/Opposed Amount Extended Calendar YTD Per Election for Office Sought
Staff Salaries 08/31/2016 In OPPOSITION to JASON KANDER [$]2432.30 2432.30 AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY 1310 N Courthouse Rd Ste 700 ARLINGTON, Virginia 22201
Canvassing Expenses 08/31/2016 In OPPOSITION to JASON KANDER [$]326.00 2758.30 The Singularis Group P.O. Box 9265 Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66201
Mailer (Kander Obamacare) 09/02/2016 In OPPOSITION to JASON KANDER [$]29[,]828.10 32586.40 United States Postal Service 475 L’Enfant Plaza Sw Washington, DC 20260
Postage for Mailer (Kander Obamacare) 09/02/2016 In OPPOSITION to JASON KANDER [$]86[,]033.57 118619.97
Total of Itemized Independent Expenditures = [$]118[,]619.97
That’s a total of $118,619.97.
Where did they get the money?:
Americans for Prosperity
Americans for Prosperity is a right-wing political advocacy group founded by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, the owners of Koch Industries.
AFP serves as the Kochs’ “grassroots” operation, also known as astroturf. AFP spends millions on TV ads in election cycles. In the 2012 election cycle, it was a key component of the Kochs’ $400 million political network, receiving large portions of its money from Koch-linked dark money groups like Freedom Partners, American Encore, and Donors Trust. AFP’s budget, which comes from the Koch family foundations and other unknown sources, surged from $7 million in 2007 to $40 million in 2010 to $115 million in 2012.  According to the Center for Public Integrity, Americans for Prosperity “spent a staggering $122 million (in 2012) as it unsuccessfully attempted to defeat President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats,” including $83 million on “communications, ads, and media.”
AFP’s messages are in sync with those of other groups funded by the Kochs and the Kochs’ other special interest groups that work against progressive or Democratic initiatives and protections for workers and the environment. Accordingly, AFP opposes labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and any effort to combat climate change including President Obama’s 2015 Clean Power Plan….
A right wingnut funded and operated Washington, D.C. “astroturf” entity has already spent $118,619.97 to dump an attack mail piece to prop up Roy Blunt (r) in Missouri. The symmetry would be ironic, if irony wasn’t already dead.