January 16, 2015

Americans for Prosperity Announces Legislative Agenda, Mirrors Koch Industries’ Corporate Wishlist

charleskochAmericans for Prosperity, the grassroots organizing group founded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, spent $125 million in the midterm elections last year. Now, they’re calling in their chips.

At the National Press Club yesterday, AFP president Tim Phillips and several officers with the group laid out their agenda. The group is calling for legalizing crude oil exports, a repeal of the estate tax, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking any hike in the gas tax, a tax holiday on corporate profits earned overseas, blocking the EPA’s new rules on carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants, and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, along with a specific focus on the medical device tax.

The announcement was touted by NPR as a “conservative agenda for Congress.” But it’s also a near mirror image of Koch Industries’ lobbying agenda. Koch Industries — the petrochemical, manufacturing and commodity speculating conglomerate owned by David and Charles — is not only a financier of political campaigns, but leads one of the most active lobbying teams in Washington, a big part of why the company has been such a financial success.

Koch Industries transports both crude oil and coal, making the AFP’s work to legalize crude oil exports and to block the EPA from rules that would diminish the coal market in the U.S. particularly important to Koch Industries’ bottom line. As multiple news outlets have reported, Koch also owns a substantial stake of Canadian tar sands, positioning the company to benefit from approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Indeed, on EPA and other issues, Koch Industries’ lobbying office in D.C. has instructed its influence peddlers to work many of the same issues as AFP.

And what makes the AFP agenda almost a self-parody is it’s focus on the estate tax, which it called the “death tax” during the press event yesterday. In reality, this tax only affects people the wealthiest 0.15 of Americans because only those who stand to inherit from family members with $5.43 million in wealth are impacted. Couple this with AFP’s focus on a corporate overseas tax holiday, again only an issue that impacts wealthy global companies, and AFP’s purported goal of helping regular Americans loses all credibility.

Charles Koch has made headlines in recent weeks over his claim that he will devote significant energy to criminal justice reform. But curiously, no issues relating to such reforms — even though over-prosecution of petty crimes and abuses such as asset forfeiture ar clearly fall under the umbrella of economic concerns AFP purports to champion — will be championed by Charles Koch’s marquee advocacy group, AFP. The issues that are part and parcel to Koch’s bottom line, however, appear to take priority.


  • Alex Constantine

    “… this tax only affects people the wealthiest 0.15 of Americans.” And this bunch is “grassroots?” Will they have a million-man billionaire’s march on Washington, set up a silk tent city, with Charles Koch delivering stirring speeches about liberating the top .15 percent and their “death” tax? “Let my inheritance go … “

  • Arvan

    Charles Koch has nothing to do with AFP? David is chairman of their board, but how would AFP and Charles be related? He has is own agenda and Institute. AFP has their own agenda.

    Lee Fang is clearly underinformed and overzealous in his disdain of the Kochs. What Lee fails to mention is the over 1 million doors AFP knocked on in 2014 to inform citizens about legislation which would affect them in 2014.

    The journalism here is poor at best.

    • James Hendrixs

      The Kochs are traitorous thugs; they should be stripped of all wealth, and put to hard labor in gitmo for the rest of their lives!

  • James Hendrixs

    NPR reports???
    NPR is now completely controlled by the Kochs/Pete Peterson crowd!!!! But it’s still funded with our tax dollars! Time to end all funding for NPR, let the Kochs pay full freight if they want to spread bulls*+ and lies!

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