Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I posted about the Koch brothers' front group Protect Patients’ Rights a couple of weeks ago. Koch is a cancer in the American body politic:
McClatchy News has the latest reporting on the billionaire bastard Koch brothers, who are a cancer in the American body politic. Center's activities provide glimpse into network of conservative advocacy groups | McClatchy:
The financial firepower that fueled the rise of a network of conservative advocacy groups now pummeling Democrats with television ads can be traced, in part, to Box 72465 in the Boulder Hills post office, on a desert road on the northern outskirts of Phoenix.
That's the address for the Center to Protect Patient Rights, an organization with ties to Charles and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankroll a number of conservative organizations.
During the 2010 midterm election, the center sent more than $55 million to 26 GOP-allied groups, tax filings show, funding opaque outfits such as American Future Fund, 60 Plus and Americans for Job Security that were behind a coordinated campaign against Democratic congressional candidates.
Well, it turns out that this Protect Patients’ Rights front group at "Box 72465 in the Boulder Hills post office, on a desert road on the northern outskirts of Phoenix," is also behind the GOP voter suppression efforts in Florida. Republic Report reveals Florida Official Behind Gov. Rick Scott’s Voter Purge Linked To $1 Billion Campaign Effort Against Obama:
Just before Kurt Browning was selected in 2011 by Scott as Secretary of State, Browning led a group called “Protect Your Vote Inc.,” which was set up to oppose fair redistricting. One of the biggest checks to Browning’s organization came from the Center to Protect Patients’ Rights, which gave $100,000 in 2010. At the time of the donation, the source of the money was shrouded in secrecy.
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But as Republic Report exclusively reported last month, the Center to Protect Patients’ Rights is part of a universe of front groups financed by David and Charles Koch, the petrochemical billionaires, as well as several other billionaires, as part of an election-influencing effort. New reports this week about the brothers’ strategy indicate that they will now use this constellation of front groups to finance $400 million of a $1 billion campaign in outside money to defeat President Obama and congressional Democrats. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mitt Romney’s Super PAC, and several nonprofits controlled by Karl Rove, will furnish the other $600 million.
The earlier Republic Report revealed Koch Operative Steered $55 Million To Front Groups Airing Ads Against Democrats; Ads Assailed Candidates Over Abortion, 9/11, Medicare:
Sean Noble, a Republican consultant, was hired to help administer the Koch war chest. According to Politico, Noble was part of a group of GOP operatives who met regularly with Karl Rove’s Super PAC to target 120 House of Representatives races in 2010.
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Yesterday afternoon, OpenSecrets.org bloggers Viveca Novak and Robert Maguire were the first to flag a tax form filed by an obscure Arizona-based foundation called the Center to Protect Patients’ Rights, noting the foundation gave huge amounts almost exclusively to conservative groups that use undisclosed nonprofits to air partisan ads. The Center acted as a pass-through to distribute $44,599,946 in grants in 2010, and $10,783,500 the year before. Novak and Maguire also reported that the Center’s tax forms were prepared by at least one employee of the DCI Group, a lobbying business.
Though the document does not reveal where the Center receives its funds, the tax forms available online from 2009 and 2010 indicate that Sean Noble, Koch’s campaign commercial operative, managed the foundation. Heather Higgins, a presenter at the infamous Koch mega-fundraisers, served on the board for part of 2009. The Center paid Noble’s firm a total of $350,000 a year in lobbying and “management services.” In turn, it appears, Noble played a significant role in fueling the most aggressive advertising campaign in the history of midterm elections.
In all, Koch operative Sean Noble channeled grants to two dozen 501(c)4 nonprofits.
The McClatchy News follow-up report added Center's activities provide glimpse into network of conservative advocacy groups | McClatchy:
The Kochs have several ties to the center. It is run by Sean Noble, a Phoenix-based GOP consultant who is a key operative in the Kochs' political activities, as first noted by the investigative blog Republic Report. One of the center's original directors, Heather Higgins, is chairwoman of the Independent Women's Forum, which has received funding from a Koch-controlled foundation.
And Cheryl Hillen, a Connecticut-based consultant who raised $2.6 million for the center, was director of fundraising for the Koch-backed Citizens for a Sound Economy.
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The center was largely used as a vehicle to pass millions to other organizations, which also zealously guard the anonymity of their donors. Some campaign finance experts suggested the center could have been set up to pool money from various sources.
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Noble did not respond to repeated phone calls and emails. Courtney Koshar, a Phoenix anesthesiologist and the organization's only other director, did not respond to requests for comment. And a Phoenix doctor who once sat on its board said he couldn't remember who asked him to join.
"I honestly played very little role," said Dr. Eric Novack, who headed an organization called the US Health Freedom Coalition that received nearly its entire budget - $1.7 million - from the center to help pass a state ballot measure that aimed to block Obama's health care overhaul.
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The center's influence extended beyond the health care debate, tax filings show. Money also went to anti-abortion groups such as the Susan B. Anthony List and to Americans for Tax Reform, led by Grover Norquist. In Florida, the center backed Protect Your Vote, a Republican effort to defeat two redistricting measures.
The largest share of the center's money went to American Future Fund, a Des Moines-based group started by onetime GOP congressional aide Nick Ryan. The fund, which ran campaigns against two dozen Democrats in the 2010 election cycle, spent $23 million that period, tax filings show, with nearly $13 million coming from the center.
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The center appears closely linked with DCI Group, a Washington-based consulting firm that specializes in under-the-radar corporate campaigns.
All of these organizations operate in Arizona. Sean Noble and Dr. Eric Novak are familiar GOP operatives in Arizona. Conspicuously absent from this reporting is Tom Jenney, the Arizona director of the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, and the GOP's go-to voter suppression specialist and campaign "consultant," Nathan Sproul.
Republic Report reveals that "Nathan Sproul has been working with the Romney campaign since late last year, and has received over $70,000 from the Romney’s campaign for 'field consulting.'" Romney Quietly Hires Consulting Firm With Sordid History Of Destroying Democratic Voter Registration Forms:
Late last year, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign began paying Nathan Sproul, a political consultant with a long history of destroying Democratic voter registration forms and manipulating ballot initiatives. Sproul, who changed his firm’s name from Sproul and Associates to Lincoln Strategies, has received over $70,000 from Romney’s campaign. Much of the campaign coverage has focused on the rhetoric of surrogates and the role of high-priced television advertisements. But if Sproul continues to play a role in the campaign, and if his previous work is any guide, his firm may have an impact on key swing states.
ThinkProgress covered Sproul and his work for the coal industry. The post, which partially reprinted below, goes through his greatest hits, including evidence that his firm systematically suppressed Democratic overs on behalf of the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential team and deceiving voters during registration drives in 2006:
- In Oregon and Nevada, Lincoln Strategies — then known as Sproul and Associates — was investigated for destroying Democratic voter registration forms. The Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign paid Sproul $7.4 million for campaign work. [CNN, 10/14/04; KGW News, 10/13/04; East Valley Tribune, 09/07/06]
- In Nevada, people who registered as Democrats with Lincoln Strategies — then known as Sproul and Associates — found their names absent from the voter registration rolls. [Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/29/04]
- During the 2006 midterm elections, Wal-Mart banned Lincoln Strategies for partisan voter registration efforts in Tennessee. The Republican National Committee had hired the firm. [Associated Press, 08/24/06]
- In Arizona, Lincoln Strategies employed a variety of deceptive tactics — including systematically lying about the bill — to push a ballot initiative to eviscerate the state’s clean elections law. [Salon, 10/21/04]
- Lincoln Strategies, then employed by the Republican Party, was behind efforts to place Ralph Nader on the ballot in states such as Arizona. [American Prospect, 06/25/04]
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Republic Report reviewed disclosures from the Federal Elections Commission. Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy Group has received about $71,391 in payments for “field consulting” and “rent & utilities” by the Romney for President Inc. committee from November 30th through March 2nd of this year.
The state of Maricopa appears to be the hub of the wingnut operations of the Koch brothers (which includes the Goldwater Institute) and the GOP. If we are ever going to change the poisonous politics that these wingnut organizations have fostered, we are going to have to tear up these organizations by their roots from Arizona. That will require public records disclosure of all sources of funding and expenditures. Full transparency. No more operating in the shadows.
And its going to require the Arizona political media, which typically treats these organizations with legitimacy, to treat them like the pariah they are. It's time for you to shine a light on their activities.