If you follow politics, you’ve no doubt heard of Americans For Prosperity (AFP), the Virginia-based right-wing group created and financed in part by the secretive billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch.
You’ll remember Koch Industries, owned wholly by the Koch brothers, as one of Gov. Scott Walker’s largest campaign contributors during his gubernatorial campaign, and you may also remember how Gov. Walker eagerly took a phone call from a blogger impersonating David Koch and revealed how he had considered planting thugs among the crowds of peaceful pro-public employee protesters that had gathered at the Capitol.
What you might not already know is that when it came to his decision to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees, Gov. Walker took his marching orders from the Koch brothers’ Americans For Prosperity, as explained to the New York Times in February 2011 by Tim Phillips, the president of AFP (emphasis added):
Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.
“We thought it was important to do,” Mr. Phillips said, adding that his group is already working with activists and state officials in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to urge them to take similar steps to curtail union benefits or give public employees the power to opt out of unions entirely.
Thanks to Scott Walker’s ability to take his marching orders like a good little soldier, the Koch brothers’ Americans For Prosperity have seen their anti-union efforts yield success here in Wisconsin. Facing the possibility that Democrats may take control of the State Senate thanks to strong recall efforts against six Republican State Senators, Americans For Prosperity has taken to sending out fraudulent mailers to Democratic voters in two Republican State Senate districts (districts 8 & 10), urging those voters to send in their absentee ballots by August 11, which is two days after those recall elections will have been decided.
In thinking about how hard Americans For Prosperity has worked to elect and protect Republicans in Wisconsin – not to mention how hard AFP has worked to get those Republicans to march in lockstep with AFP’s marching orders – perhaps the Republican Party of Wisconsin should consider a name change.
I’ve got a suggestion: how about the “Republican Part of Wisconsin – Brought to you by Americans For Prosperity (A subsidiary of the Koch brothers)”