In the News

Washington Post: “Billionaire Koch brothers’ network takes cue from Obama’s playbook”

Jul 30, 2015

Check out this article in The Washington Post about the Kochs brothers plan to replicate President Obama’s campaign — but funded by dark money.

“Billionaire Koch brothers’ network takes cue from Obama’s playbook”

By Matea Gold
July 29

Kathy Birjandi was heading out the door with her two sons on a sweltering morning when she encountered a politely smiling duo from the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity on her porch.

“Ma’am, do you have time for a quick survey about the economy?” asked Carlos Muhletaler, a senior field director for AFP. Ninety seconds later, he had logged key details about the 45-year-old mom into an iPad app, including the fact that she considers herself a political moderate and has mixed feelings about the Affordable Care Act.

The information gathered by Muhletaler and a dozen AFP volunteers who knocked on more than 400 doors in Boca Raton on Tuesday instantly flowed back to the eighth floor of an office building in Arlington, Va., where a team of 80 engineers, analysts and data scientists is working to refine a massive voter database.

The summer canvassing is part of a mission that consumes the political network backed by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, which plans to spend $889 million in the run-up to the 2016 elections. The network’s resources are financing a host of activities, including a campaign to derail the Export-Import Bank and efforts to reform the criminal-justice system.

But one of the prime objectives could have a direct impact on Election Day 2016: to create a permanent ground force powered by a vast trove of data, replicating the kind of infrastructure that helped President Obama win reelection.

Already, roughly 1,000 full-time staffers are working for Koch network organizations such as AFP, Concerned Veterans for America and the Libre Initiative — more than double the number four years ago, according to officials.

Read the full article here.