Koch brothers wade into Coffman/Carroll race

Koch brothers wade into Coffman/Carroll race

David and Charles Koch, billionaire owners of Koch Industries, are wading into a Colorado congressional race to support incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in his fight against his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Morgan Carroll.

The Washington Post today reported that the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity is launching a six-figure campaign Wednesday that will send out hundreds of staffers in the 6th Congressional District, which covers Aurora, to urge voters to vote for Coffman.

But that contradicts what AFP’s Colorado chapter has said in the past. In an email to The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins last May, AFP spokesperson Tamra Farah said the group doesn’t offer endorsements.

“Though we don’t endorse candidates, we do hold them accountable on their positions related to common-sense policy priorities that protect the interests of all Coloradans,” she said.

Michael Fields, Colorado director for AFP, told The Independent Tuesday morning that the Washington Post story is incorrect on that point — AFP says it is not, in fact, telling voters to support Coffman. “We are doing express advocacy against Morgan Carroll and not talking about Coffman,” Fields said. “We rarely do express advocacy,” he said, noting that the only other time was in the 2014 election when they advocated against the 2014 re-election of then-U.S. Sen. Mark Udall of Eldorado Springs, who was in a tight race that he lost to now-U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Yuma.

Related: Colorado is in Americans for Prosperity “persuasion universe.”

The Washington Post report said the Colorado effort was due in part to an ability to target districts where “AFP already has staff and resources and can most efficiently impact voting outcomes.”

KOCHPAC, a political action committee run by Koch Industries, has already donated $10,000 to Coffman’s re-election campaign this year. It matches what the PAC gave to Coffman in 2014 and 2012, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The Carroll campaign Tuesday morning pointed out even stronger ties between AFP and Coffman. Dustin Zvonek, now a regional director for AFP, served most recently as Coffman’s district director as well as Coffman’s campaign manager in 2008. He was hired as state director of AFP in 2013 and promoted to regional director last year, according to The Denver Post. Zvonek is still based in Colorado, according to his Twitter account.

“The last person that the Koch brothers want to see in Congress fighting on behalf of hardworking Coloradans is Morgan Carroll,” according to Carroll for Colorado Campaign Manager Jennifer Donovan. Carroll has been an advocate for campaign finance reform, including more disclosures of corporate spending, at the state level during her time as a state lawmaker, the campaign noted.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons, Flickr 

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About the Author

Marianne Goodland

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.

4 Comments

  1. buford on said:

    Yep…The koch boys are a truly evil pair…Ok maybe not evil, evil, but they are not good for this Nation, or our State…I do not want to live in Kochistan…Like Kansas, and Wisconsin, where their meat puppets have ground those state governments into dust, and now the people are really paying for it…Shine the Light on these Kochroaches and be amazed at the amount of corruption they have wrought…

  2. Tamra Farah on said:

    Hi Marianne! Yep, just as we have said: we don’t endorse candidates – we do hold them accountable on their positions. Morgan Carroll is too extreme for Colorado.

    Tamra Farah

    Americans for Prosperity-Colorado is over 127,000 Colorado activists with eight local field directors and over 100,000 donors nationwide, working together to hold government accountable and expand economic freedom and opportunity for all.

  3. F in Denver on said:

    Oh please AFP. not endorsing, just attacking another. Uh huh.

    You people are hypocrites. To say AFP is for smaller government so that people have fewer taxes and are thus prosperous, while out your other blowhole influence legislation to privatize public institutions, thereby destroying the job security, income and retirement of public workers, is the greedy hypocrisy that HD6 voters should consider when they have to put up with AFP thugs at their doors. You’re hypocrites…and other sophisticated names.

    And don’t be fooled D6 voters, AFP thugs can appear in buttondowns, ball caps, bonnets, and bobby socks.

    I want the people of Aurora to remember that Coffman IS beholden to AFP and is a member of ALEC. Read this link discussing 172 other ALEC Projects around the country. Coffman is way too extreme for Aurora. Wolf in sheep’s clothing. Moderate in name only. Hypocrite.

    http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/03/13054/cashing-kids-172-alec-education-bills-2015

    And read this…

    http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/03/13065/how-dfer-leaders-channel-out-state-dark-money-colorado-and-beyond

    Conclusion: Coffman is a Kochold. Hope you know what I mean. He is hardly a moderate. He takes money from AFP–the farthest right and non-transparent privatizing thug shop in America. Making him a thug, too.

    UNSEAT Coffman!!!!!!

  4. F in Denver on said:

    Oh please AFP. not endorsing, just attacking another. Uh huh.

    You people are hypocrites. To say AFP is for smaller government so that people have fewer taxes and are thus prosperous, while out the other side of your two faces, influence legislation to privatize public institutions, thereby destroying the job security, income and retirement of public workers, is the greedy hypocrisy that HD6 voters should consider when they have to put up with AFP thugs at their doors. You’re hypocrites…and other sophisticated names.

    And don’t be fooled D6 voters, AFP thugs can appear in buttondowns, ball caps, bonnets, and bobby socks.

    I want the people of Aurora to remember that Coffman IS beholden to AFP and is a member of ALEC. Read this link discussing 172 other ALEC Projects around the country.

    http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/03/13054/cashing-kids-172-alec-education-bills-2015

    And read this…

    http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/03/13065/how-dfer-leaders-channel-out-state-dark-money-colorado-and-beyond

    Conclusion: Coffman is a Kochold. Hope you know what I mean. He is hardly a moderate. He takes money from AFP–the farthest right and non-transparent privatizing thug shop in America. Making him a thug, too.

    UNSEAT Coffman!!!!!!

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