Koch Group Has Ambitions in Small Races

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Thank you for voting

Enemies of Democracy, the Koch brothers and the various organizations they fund are trying to influence small scale elections now, elections that you won’t see covered on your cable news shows. Let us hope their schemes fail as more people realize the Koch anti-American agenda. Not holding my breath though. 

The [Koch brothers funded] group, Americans for Prosperity, has jumped into the race to elect Coralville’s next mayor and City Council with an aggressive campaign, mailing fliers, advertising in newspapers, calling voters and knocking on their doors. Its latest leaflet hit mailboxes last week, denouncing the town’s growing debt and comparing it to the financial woes of Detroit. “Coralville is fast becoming Iowa’s version of Detroit,” it read.

Tuesday’s race here is not the only one that has drawn the interest of Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by Charles and David Koch. Local chapters have been involved in property tax fights in Kansas, Ohio and Texas, the group says.

In January, the group successfully fought an increase in a food and beverage tax in Fremont, Neb. And last spring, it opposed a tax increase in Gahanna, in central Ohio. Voters rejected the tax measure in May, but the City Council has put it back on Tuesday’s ballot.

Tim Phillips, the national president of Americans for Prosperity, said the organization could have a real effect on local races, where it does not have to deal with all the Washington special interests.

The main reason “we fight local issue battles is because they result in good policy outcomes, generally promoting economic freedom via less taxes, less government spending,” he said.

(click here to continue reading Koch Group Has Ambitions in Small Races – NYTimes.com.)

General Growth - Blues
General Growth – Blues

They haven’t been welcomed everywhere, for instance in Coralville, Iowa:

But here, in this town of fewer than 20,000 residents, the group has not been so welcome, and the nonpartisan campaign has become an informal referendum on the involvement of outsiders.

Even residents who agree with Americans for Prosperity’s core argument — that the city’s debt is out of control — question the group’s motives for wading into the race. That has forced the candidates who share the group’s beliefs to keep the organization at a distance.

Chris Turner, a first-time candidate for the City Council who has spoken out against the debt, said that although he disagreed with Americans for Prosperity on most issues, he could not seem to catch a break because his campaign platform aligns with the organization.

“Every time I go to a debate or anything, I’ve tried talking about the budget, and then they just go, ‘Koch brothers, Koch brothers, Koch brothers,’ ” he said of his critics, adding that he wished Americans for Prosperity “would just go away.”

One of the central players in the race, a coalition of business leaders called Citizens for Responsible Growth and Taxation, has a large disclaimer on its website that says it is unaffiliated with Americans for Prosperity.

The citizens group, which has given money and advice to candidates it supports, has been criticized because it is unclear who some members are. While most of them are said to own businesses in Coralville, many do not live in the town. The group also has the backing of General Growth Properties, a developer based in Chicago with 123 malls nationwide, including Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville. That is the type of corporate, big-money affiliation that people here say they are uncomfortable seeing in their elections.

General Growth has not contributed money to any candidates in the race, but a spokesman, David Keating, said in a statement that the company “is like many other local businesses and homeowners in Coralville — very concerned about the astronomical levels of debt incurred by the city and the huge property tax hikes that have resulted.”

(click here to continue reading Koch Group Has Ambitions in Small Races – NYTimes.com.)

Why don’t the Koch brothers just take their petcoke and their billions, and purchase an island off the coast of Somalia? They could do whatever they wanted there, and leave the rest of us alone…

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