Americans for Prosperity

Americans for Prosperity is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group that ostensibly focuses on social welfare. It is one of the most prominent groups within the Koch network, with a claimed volunteer base of 2.3 million people.[1] The group was founded in 2004 with a large donation from David Koch, as well as funds from prominent companies including State Farm and Johnson & Johnson.[2] Today, Koch serves as chairman of AFP’s board.[3] The group’s president, Tim Phillips, previously served as a vice president of Enron lobbyist Century Strategies.[4][5]

Americans for Prosperity ramped up quickly in the early years of the Obama Administration. From 2007 to 2010, its budget expanded from $7 million to $40 million; by 2012, the budget had ballooned to $122 million.[6][7] In 2014, the group estimated that it would spend $125 million on the midterm elections that year.[8] Politico noted that this “projected budget for Americans for Prosperity would be unprecedented for a private political group in a midterm, and would likely rival even the spending of the Republican and Democratic parties’ congressional campaign arms.”[9] By March 31 of that year, the group had already spent over $16 million in Senate races and $30 million total.[10] AFP was active not only in running ads, but in collecting data and in deploying field staff as well.[11]

In August 2015, AFP announced that it would air $1 million of ads against Governor (and now Senate candidate) Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and $1.4 million worth of ads against Senate candidate Ted Strickland (D-OH).[12][13]

[1]About Americans for Prosperity – Our Mission.” Accessed 10/08/15

[2]David Koch seeded major tea-party group, private donor list reveals.” Alex Seitz-Wald, National Journal, 09/24/13

[3]Billionaire Koch brothers struggle to rein in GOP.” Rich Lord, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 09/16/15

[4]Bush 2000 advisor offered to use clout to help Enron.” Joe Stephens, The Washington Post, 02/17/02

[5]Americans for Prosperity – Tim Phillips, President.” Accessed 10/08/15

[6]Billionaire brothers’ money plays role in Wisconsin dispute.” Eric Lipton, The New York Times, 02/21/11

[7]Koch-backed nonprofit spent record cash in 2012.” Michael Beckel, The Center for Public Integrity, 11/14/13

[8]Koch brothers plan $125M spree.” Kenneth Vogel, Politico, 05/09/14

[9]Koch brothers plan $125M spree.” Kenneth Vogel, Politico, 05/09/14

[10]READ IN: Monday, March 31: ACA deadline looms, Koch strategist hits Harry Reid in ad, charting AFP Senate spending.” Reid Wilson, The Washington Post, 03/31/14

[11]Koch brothers plan $125M spree.” Kenneth Vogel, Politico, 05/09/14

[12]Conservative group launches $1 million TV ad buy to criticize Hassan on budget veto.” John DiStaso, WMUR 9 New Hampshire, 08/06/15

[13]AFP launches TV attacks on Strickland. Are they the start of another big campaign?” Andrea Drusch, National Journal, 08/19/15