Group that Spent $236 Million Last Year to Influence Elections Comes out of the Shadows (a Little)
One of biggest financial players in last year’s elections was a little-known conservative group that’s just now revealing itself…somewhat.
Freedom Partners, which has ties to the right-wing Koch brothers, raised $256 million and spent all but $20 million in 2012 on various campaigns.
In spending $236 million, Freedom Partners finished No. 2 in helping conservative causes, behind only Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which together spent about $300 million.
Tax filings by the group revealed it has about 200 donors, each of whom pay at least $100,000 in annual dues. Among the donors are Charles G. and David H. Koch.
The wealthy brothers are connected in other ways to the organization.
A majority of the Freedom Partners board consists of longtime Koch employees, such as Richard Fink, an executive vice president of Koch Industries who oversees the brothers’ public relations, lobbying and political operations; Wayne Gable, a longtime Koch Industries employee who was the new group’s first director; and Kevin Gentry, a Koch official and vice chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.
Still hidden from view are the names of Freedom Partners’ financial contributors. As a trade association classified under 501(c)6 of the Tax Code, the group is not required to release the names of its donors.
But its tax filing does show the recipients of Freedom Partners’ spending and how much they got. They included:
- The Center to Protect Patient Rights, an anti-Obamacare group that doles out money to other groups ($115 million)
- Americans for Prosperity, an organizing and advocacy group involved in GOP presidential campaigns ($32.3 million)
- The 60 Plus Association, a free-market seniors group that opposes Obamacare ($15.7 million)
- American Future Fund, an Iowa-based free market group that ran ads for Mitt Romney ($13.6 million)
- Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee ($8.2 million)
To Learn More:
Exclusive: The Koch Brothers' Secret Bank (by Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei, Politico)
Koch-Connected Group Revealed as Major Funder of CPPR, Other Dark Money Groups (by Viveca Novak, Open Secrets)
Tax Filings Hint at Extent of Koch Brothers’ Reach (by Nicholas Confessore, New York Times)
44 Congressional Darlings of the Koch Brothers (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)
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