The rate at which the Koch Industries funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) churns out front groups to promote its right-wing corporate agenda sets the organization out among similar conservative “think tanks.” This week, AFP created their latest front group called “Patients United Now,” an entity set up to defeat health care reform. Patients United follows a familiar pattern AFP has used for their other front groups: create a new stand alone website, fill it with lines like “We are people just like you” to give the site a grassroots feel, and then use the new group to recruit supporters and run deceptive advertisements attacking reform. This “astroturfing” model has been used by AFP to launch groups pushing distortions against other progressive priorities:
– The “Hot Air Tour” promoting global warming skepticism and attacking environmental regulations.
– “Free Our Energy,” a group promoting increased domestic drilling.
– The “Save My Ballot Tour,” a group that pays Joe the Plumber to travel around the country smearing the Employee Free Choice Act.
– “No Climate Tax,” a group dedicated to the defeat of Clean Energy Economy legislation.
– “No Stimulus,” a group launched to try to stop the passage of the Recovery Act.
Notably, AFP was also instrumental in orchestrating the anti-Obama, anti-tax tea party protests in April.
With nearly 70 Republican operatives and former oil industry spokesmen working behind the scenes of AFP’s various fronts and disclosures that point to ever increasing oil and corporate donations to the group, one must wonder, who is guiding this massive front group factory? The answer is Tim Phillips, the President of AFP who has built a long career of inventing fake grassroots causes. In Phillips’ official biography, there appears to be over a 10 year gap — but that period was when Phillips developed his very first astroturf groups to do everything from smearing his opponents with anti-Semitic attacks to laundering money for criminal lobbyists.
Click More To Read The WonkRoom’s Investigation Of AFP’s Tim Phillips