Generation Opportunity

Generation Opportunity (also known as GenOpp) is a Koch-backed group that focuses on outreach to millennials. The group’s actions have put it at the forefront of the publicity campaign against the Affordable Care Act.

GenOpp became famous for its “Creepy Uncle Sam” series of ads, which encouraged millennial viewers to opt out of health care.[1] The group also put on a “Creepy Carenival” on the National Mall designed to turn attendees against the Affordable Care Act.[2] The event featured the debunked canard of Obamacare death panels.[3][4]

The group also sponsored tailgates around the country that encouraged college students to opt out.[5] As GenOpp’s communications director described one such event to the Tampa Bay Times, “We rolled in with a fleet of Hummers, F-150’s and Suburbans, each vehicle equipped with an 8’ high balloon bouquet floating overhead. We hired a popular student DJ from UMiami (DJ Joey), set up OptOut cornhole sets, beer pong tables*, bought 75 pizzas, and hired 8 “brand ambassadors” aka models with bullhorns to help out. *Student activists independently brought (lots of) beer and liquor for consumption by those 21 and over.”[6] The Times noted that “judging from the pictures, it seems some were there more for the party than for the message.”[7] Nonetheless, the group announced that it would spend $750,000 on its advertising and tailgating effort.[8] A New York Times editor described the push as “a campaign that’s not only insanely irresponsible, but also insanely dumb. Generation Opportunity is the old guy at a house party, convinced he can win the cool kids’ respect with booze.”[9]

GenOpp is largely funded by Koch network money. According to a 2014 analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, “in the three years for which tax information is available, Generation Opportunity raised almost 86 percent of its funds from just two Koch-linked nonprofits.”[10] GenOpp receives money from other Koch-backed groups through its disregarded entity, TRGN LLC.[11] Its official name is YEM Trust in IRS filings.[12] The CRP also noted that GenOpp had not yet been required to file with the FEC “because it tends to run ‘issue ads’ that don’t have to be reported.”[13]

[1]Opt out of Obamacare is conservative group’s message to young people.” Alex Leary, The Tampa Bay Times, 10/12/13

[2]Inside the anti-Obamacare carnival.” David Weigel, Slate, 8/27/14

[3]Inside the anti-Obamacare carnival.” David Weigel, Slate, 8/27/14

[4]Why it is so difficult to kill the death panel myth.” Peter Ubel, Forbes, 1/9/13

[5]Opt out of Obamacare is conservative group’s message to young people.” Alex Leary, The Tampa Bay Times, 10/12/13

[6]Chugging beers with Creepy Uncle Sam.” Alex Leary, The Tampa Bay Times, 11/11/13

[7]Chugging beers with Creepy Uncle Sam.” Alex Leary, The Tampa Bay Times, 11/11/13

[8]Creepy Obamacare ad hits college campuses and your nightmares.” Chris Moody, Yahoo! News, 9/19/13

[9]No health insurance? Just drink.” Juliet Lapidos, The New York Times (editorial page editor’s blog), 11/11/13

[10]GenOpp, too: Another group almost wholly funded by Koch network.” Viveca Novak, The Center for Responsive Politics, 5/13/14

[11]Koch group’s IRS report unlocks a few mysteries.” Robert Maguire and Viveca Novak, The Center for Responsive Politics, 9/18/13

[12]Koch group’s IRS report unlocks a few mysteries.” Robert Maguire and Viveca Novak, The Center for Responsive Politics, 9/18/13

[13]GenOpp, too: Another group almost wholly funded by Koch network.” Viveca Novak, The Center for Responsive Politics, 5/13/14