Secret Koch-backed group spent $250m in 2012

A little known funding group spent millions to alter policy in conservative directions

Topics: Koch Brothers, Conservatism, right wing, funding, Freedom Partners, donations, IRS, NRA, ,

Secret Koch-backed group spent $250m in 2012David Koch (Credit: Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)

Backed by Koch brother money and ideology, a barely known group poured vast millions into the U.S. political system, acting as a vector of conservative influence without detection from the media or public.

As political reported Thursday, based on discoveries in IRS filings, “Freedom Partners, and its president, Marc Short, serve as an outlet for the ideas and funds of the mysterious Koch brothers, cutting checks as large as $63 million to groups promoting conservative causes, according to an IRS document to be filed shortly.”

The group enabled donors to give considerable sums to bolster right wing causes, without having to identify themselves as campaign funders.
Via Politico:

The group has about 200 donors, each paying at least $100,000 in annual dues. It raised $256 million in the year after its creation in November 2011, the document shows. And it made grants of $236 million — meaning a totally unknown group was the largest sugar daddy for conservative groups in the last election, second in total spending only to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which together spent about $300 million.

… The filing offers a rare tour of the conservative movement and how it gets its funds:
• Center to Protect Patient Rights, a group that vehemently opposes Obamacare: a total of $115 million, from three grants.
• Americans for Prosperity, an organizing and advocacy group that is courted by Republican presidential candidates: $32.3 million.
• The 60 Plus Association, a free-market seniors group that also opposes Obamacare: $15.7 million.
• American Future Fund, an Iowa group that spent a lot of money on ads in 2012, many for Mitt Romney: $13.6 million.
• Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, which gets involved in a number of social policy debates: $8.2 million.
• Themis Trust, a Koch-based voter database that is made available to other conservative organizations: $5.8 million.
• Public Notice, a fiscal policy think tank: $5.5 million.
• Generation Opportunity, a group for “liberty-loving” young people: $5 million.
• The LIBRE Initiative, which targets a free-market message to Hispanic immigrants: $3.1 million.
• The National Rifle Association: $3.5 million.
• The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: $2 million.
• American Energy Alliance: $1.5 million.
• And several groups — including the State Tea Party Express, the Tea Party Patriots and Heritage Action for America — got less than $1 million each.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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