By Lisa Graves on September 18, 2013

Koch Dark Money KochtopusToday, the Koch-funded "Freedom Partners," which secretly distributed $250 million during the 2012 election season, posted its first federal tax report which uncloaked several Koch-related entities that were previously unknown. Last week, Politico broke the news of the existence of this group. Today, new details of the group's spending are available for the first time.

The new-ish organization, formally known as "Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce," lists five entities which it owned 100% of:

  • The "American Entrepreneur Fund LLC," which had assets of $885,316 and whose activities are listed as simply as "projects"
  • The "American Enterprise Group LLC," which had assets of $424,975 and whose activities are listed as "management"
  • The "American Strategies Group LLC," which had assets of $97,714 and whose activities are listed as "public outreach"
  • The "MIC LLC," with assets of $25,000 and whose job was "research"
  • And, "American Strategic Innovations LLC," with assets of $4,976, whose job was also listed as "research"

All of these entities, whose assets totaled more than $1.4 million as of October 2012, share the same street address: 2200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 102-391, Arlington, Virginia 22201. All of these corporations are registered in Delaware. The activities of these groups is not known and their current assets are also unknown. (These corporations are listed on the form as "disregarded" in IRS lingo not because they no longer exist but because of a technical tax definition for certain companies that are similar to sole proprietorships or controlled by just a few people.)

The Koch-Fueled CPPR Got More than $100 Million Last Year

The Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce's tax filing also lists the names and amounts of all of the entities it funded between late 2011 and the eve of the 2012 elections. Here is the list of the top five groups to which the Kochs' Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce funneled millions:

  • "Corner Table LLC," known as the "Center to Protect Patient Rights" (CPPR): three infusions of cash totalling $114,678,000. CPPR has spearheaded the right-wing attack on the Affordable Care Act and is at the center of a probe by the California Elections Board on "dark money" spent through shell groups to influence two ballot initiatives, among other concerns that have been raised about it.
  • "PR Dist LLC," described as "Americans for Prosperity," which is directed by David Koch: two infusions totaling $31,600,000
  • "The 60 Plus Association Inc.," $15,660,000
  • "American Future Fund," $13,600,000
  • "Concerned Women for American Legislative Action Committee," $8,150,000

Kochs Have Claimed No Role on Gun Policy; the NRA Got Millions

In the past 18 months as controversy has grown over the role of the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in pushing so-called "Stand Your Ground" legislation, Koch Industries has repeatedly issued denouncements that it has any role in gun policies. The Center for Media and Democracy, however, has documented how extreme gun policies of the National Rifle Association (NRA) have flourished while Koch Industries has had a seat on and led ALEC's Private Enterprise Board (which was recently rebranded as the Private Enterprise Advisory Council).

While it is not known if Koch Industries has donated any funds to the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, what is known -- as CMD has documented -- is that this organization is filled with Koch operatives, was launched in the same building as the Charles Koch Foundation, and has very close ties to David and Charles Koch, who are two of the richest men in the world.

Now, with this tax filing it is clear that this Koch-related operation is directly funding the NRA. The NRA received more than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, receiving $3,465,000. The NRA describes itself as a membership organization, where people can pay $35 to be a member and get a subscription to one of the NRA magazines. However, the NRA has not disclosed how much of its funding comes from gun manufacturers or non-profit groups such as the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce.

The Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce also gave millions to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the National Association of Manufacturers.

More Mysteries of the Koch Network Exposed

In addition to these, the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce spent another $50 million on other groups, cumulatively, some of which are well known and some of which have flown below the public's radar:

  • "American Commitment," $6,260,000
  • "Partnership for Ohio's Future," $500,000
  • "West Michigan Policy Forum," $1,000,000
  • "American Energy Alliance," $1,460,000 (has previously been connected to the Kochs)
  • "American Values Action," $230,000 (spent $14 million on "independent expenditures" including phone calls against Obama during the 2012 election; donors unknown/not registered as a PAC)
  • "Common Sense Issues, Inc.," $50,000
  • "Heritage Action for America, Inc.," $500,000 (connected to the Heritage Foundation, which has deep Koch connections)
  • "ORRA LLC (EVANGCH4 Trust)," $5,055,000
  • "POFN LLC (Public Notice)," $5,466,250
  • "Republican Jewish Coalition," $700,000
  • "RION LLC (Center for Shared Service Trust)," $2,738,000 (closely connected to the Charles Koch Foundation)
  • "SLAH LLC (Public Engagement Trust)," $1,500,000 (Arlington)
  • "State Tea Party Express," $600,000 (operates out of Willows, California)
  • "STN LLC (Themis Trust)," $5,781,000
  • "TONA LLC (Libre Initiative Trust)," $3,112,000
  • "Tea Party Patriots," $200,000 (operating out of Woodstock, Georgia)
  • "TRGN LLC (Generation Opportunity)," $5,040,000 (a group aimed at Gen X that tries to pin the economic crash that began under President George W. Bush on Democrats)
  • "The National Right to Work Committee," $1,000,000 (which pushes anti-worker, union-busting measures)

Some of these groups have been directly connected to the Koch fortune by prior research, such as the Heritage Foundation's arms (which are long-time recipients of Koch money), the Center for Shared Service (which helps recruit right-wingers for jobs in the Koch network and which shares an office building with the Charles Koch Foundation) Themis and Libre (which advance Koch corporate agenda of Ayn Rand-style economic policies), and the Tea Party groups (which the Kochs initially claimed to the New Yorker's Jane Mayer that they had little to do with, despite evidence to the contrary).

Other groups were not yet tied to Koch money, like Generation Opportunity (which is aimed at college graduates struggling to find work in this economy and which attempts to blame progressive policies for the economic crisis that was actually spurred by Koch-style deregulation peddled by David Koch's Citizens for a Sounds Economy, which pressed for the repeal of Glass-Steagall protections, the predecessor group of Koch's Americans for Prosperity).

Others, such as the array of LLCs in the list in addition to the gigantic sum given to CPPR, raise additional questions about the Koch agenda and how it was spent during the last election cycle when hundreds of millions in dark money was poured into so-called issue ads and other "public education" activities that coincided with election themes.

The Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce describes itself as devoted to advancing its members "common business interests." It is a trade group organized under section 501(c)(6) of the tax group, with corporate members (which may be able to write-off part of their investment as a business expense). The question a growing number of people are asking is how the pursuit of these common business interests is actually undermining the prosperity of ordinary Americans, while advancing the interests of some of the richest few in the country.

(This article has been updated, including new links.)

Lisa Graves

Lisa Graves is CMD's Executive Director. She has served as a senior advisor in all three branches of the federal government and other posts.

Comments

Bereft of morality, the infamous Koch brothers need to be stopped in their tracks of un-American activities. My God, where is McCarthy when we truly need him? Their behavior is how dictatorships are formed. Do we want them in charge. ABSOLUTELY Not!! Talk about repression, these two are on the road to achieving such, in my lifetime. I'm 70 and hope I don't see it. We have to stop buying into the pipe dream that having money is everything, and start working to better the American public who are too often caught taking a nap when they should be awake and working desperately to turn things around at the ballot box. Vote any rep or senator out who fails to seek your best interests, both morally and fiscally.

With a last name like KOCH, what do you expect! They do live up to their last names...KOCH.