How the Koch Brothers worked to defeat Democrats in Washington State

[Note: For later news on this topic, see: State Republicans fined for violating reporting requirements in 2010 elections.]

In October, 2010 a formal complaint was filed with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission against the Washington State chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers-funded organization that has promoted the Tea Party and that has funded many right wing campaigns.  The complaint alleges that

Americans for Prosperity Washington (AFPWA) has violated campaign finance law in hiding its financial contributions, expenditures, communications, and even its existence from the public eye.

Throughout the election season, AFPWA produced and executed both political advertising independent expenditures and electioneering communications against Democratic incumbent senators in the 30th, 41st, 45th, and 48th Legislative Districts. This has included mailers, canvassers distributing leaflets, and advertisements in the print media.

The tagline on each advertisement reads, “No candidate authorized this ad. It is paid for by Americans for Prosperity Washington PO Box 249 Duvall, WA 98019” (all known pieces are attached).

On PDC, under committees, under independent spending, under in-kind donations, no records of any kind exist for AFPWA. They have not filed a single C1, C3, C4, or C6 report — they do not exist on paper with the PDC.  This is a direct violation of many campaign finance laws…..

The complainants include the Sierra Club (Seattle) and Dwight Pelz, chair of the Washington State Democrats.

Progressive incumbent Democratic state senators Randy Gordon (41st LD) and Eric Oemig (45th LD) lost tight races, partly due to the campaign expenditures of AFPWA.  Gordon lost in the recount by 192 votes, 0.32%.

AFPWA  supports “market-based” policies.   Their website says, “Americans for Prosperity – Washington State is supporting dozens of grassroots organizations around Washington State for the Tax Day Tea Parties.”

According to Wikipedia

AFP was founded in 2004 when Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) split into FreedomWorks (formerly Citizens for a Sound Economy), for 501(c)(4) advocacy activity, and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (formerly the Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation). Dick Armey, who had become chair of CSE in 2003 after retiring from Congress,[2] stayed as chairman of FreedomWorks, while David H. Koch stayed as Chairman of Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Like CSE, AFP was founded with the support of David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch of Koch Industries.[3][4][5] Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) had been established in 1984 by David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch. “CSE received almost $5 million from various Koch foundations between 1986 and 1990, and David Koch and several Koch Industries employees serve[d] as directors of CSE and the CSE Foundation.”[6]

The Center for Public Integrity has produced this analysis of the Koch’s web of influence.

William Koch, brother of company owners David and Charles, has said of Koch Industries, “I did not want my family, my legacy, my father’s legacy to be based upon organized crime.” Koch industries was fined many times for violating environmental and safety laws. Of course, it has lobbied relentless, and supported candidates, to stop regulation and taxation.  See and Koch And Native-American Reservation Oil Theft.

Like AFPWA, the Chamber of Commerce funded campaign literature in Washington State, for example,  in support of Dave Reichert.

Money corrupts politics.   That the Koch brothers were so active in Washington State was news to me.

Thanks to David Spring for drawing my attention to this issue.

See The Kochs Mess With Texas, Our Minds and Our Future for a report on Kochs’ nefarious dealings in Texas.

If anyone has relevant  campaign literature from 2010, or further information about this topic, please comment below or let me know.

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