Koch Brothers Fine Tune Iowa Political Machine

Monday, 07 Jul 2014 06:22 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Americans for Prosperity, the conservative political advocacy organization, is building an operation in Iowa that's intended to sway voting in the Hawkeye State for years to come,
The Des Moines Register reported.

Using methodical canvassing, the not-for-profit organization — funded by billionaire energy executives Charles and David Koch, owners of the second-biggest privately held company in the United States — seeks to identify voters who are sympathetic to its message. Its database is to include an individual's political orientation, likelihood to vote and serve as a roster of probable swing voters.

The strategic objective is to use the information to fundamentally influence Iowa's political landscape.

Americans for Prosperity espouses low taxes, small government and minimal involvement by government in the economy. The organization is working to get around existing media and political institutions, the Register reported.
 
"I want Iowa people, our people, to go out and change the world," Mark Lucas, who oversees AFP in the state, told the Register. "We don't want to tear this thing down 10 or 15 years down the road."

Americans for Prosperity has five field offices and 27 employees in the state. The Iowa caucuses begin the national presidential campaign.

AFP employees wielding iPad Minis work phones and knock on doors in "laser-focused" field operations, said Lucas. "That's how we can make the biggest impact on people's lives is door to door, telling them about the things that are facing our country," Lucas said, according to the Register.

Richard Hasen, Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, described Americans for Prosperity's plan of action as, "audacious," and "ambitious," according to USA Today.

The organization, with 240 full-time employees on its national staff, intends to spends $300 million across the country in 2014 and further expand its state-by-state operations.

"We're willing to challenge politicians of any party on the issues if they limit people's opportunities and their individual liberties," said Teresa Oelke, who handles Americans for Prosperity state operations. "I think the left is scared of us because we're focused on educating citizens on these principles."

In Iowa, AFP has sponsored a Republican senatorial debate, lobbied the state legislature to lower property taxes and opposed an increase in the gasoline tax.

"Our goal is to build a long-term, permanent infrastructure," Tim Phillips, who runs the national organization, told USA Today. "We want policy victories at the state, local, and federal level that bring greater economic freedom."

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