Groups funded by Kochs flood competitive Senate races with ads

Hands off my health care - Americans for Prosperity

Six nonprofit organizations connected to billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch have aired nearly one in 10 political ads in Senate races this election cycle.

The groups have spent $14.5 million on nearly 44,000 ads that aired Jan. 1, 2013 through Aug. 31, 2014, according to data obtained by The Center for Public Integrity from Kantar Media/CMAG, an ad tracking service.

Through the end of August, the groups aired about 8,600 ads in North Carolina, 6,900 in Louisiana and 5,800 in Iowa. Those are three of the nine most competitive races that could swing Senate control from Democrats to Republicans.

The six Koch-connected organizations responsible for the ads are Americans for Prosperity, American Energy Alliance, Concerned Veterans for America, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Generation Opportunity and the 60 Plus Association.

These nonprofits, often organized under the IRS tax code as a 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6), are not required to disclose their donors.

This ad spending dwarfs other large conservative groups, according to the article:

Even the two main big-money committees co-founded by GOP strategist Karl Rove — American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS — have only aired about half as many ads to date as these six Koch-connected groups.

The negative ads targeting Democrats have focused on a variety of issues, including Obamacare:

In Alaska, the Koch-backed Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce has accused Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of “standing with insurance companies” by supporting President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.

Meanwhile, Generation Opportunity, a Koch group focused on millennials, has argued Democratic Sens. Mark Udall of Colorado and Kay Hagan of North Carolina are “forcing” young adults to “buy health insurance.”

And Democrat Gary Peters has been slammed by Americans for Prosperity for supporting Obamacare, which the group contended was “making things worse” for Michigan families.

Reach Eric Holmberg at 412-315-0266 or at eholmberg@publicsource.org.