It’s no secret that Latinos are a key voting bloc in many presidential swing states and tight senate races this election season. That’s the power the Koch brothers are trying to harness through LIBRE, a cynical attempt to convince Latino voters that Koch-supported candidates and policies align with their best interests. Brave New Films, which first introduced the world to these billionaires’ massive, moneyed manipulation schemes in Koch Brothers Exposed, is not letting them get away with it. We have gone to the ground to film this new video, just released with People for the American way, which shows what’s really behind LIBRE—greed.
As the video shows, LIBRE gets its hooks in potential voters by hosting seemingly benevolent events like food giveaways, where they hand out bags of groceries. The sad irony is that many of the people who come to receive the groceries are working full time but not earning enough to make ends meet. Yet, in order to get one of the bags, the recipients have to fork over their contact information so the real feeding can begin—feeding them propaganda. The Koch’s use the personal information to send them misleading information about conservative candidates and to try to get them to support policies like opposing a higher minimum wage.
LIBRE started out this election in 10 states with fully staffed field offices. Recently, the Kochs announced that they are geared up to expand well beyond this scale in future elections by merging LIBRE and their other constituency-focused groups around veterans and millennials into their behemoth, Americans for Prosperity.
For those not familiar with AFP, it is the organizational core of the Koch’s election operation. In the 2012 cycle AFP was a key component of their $400 million political network. AFP’s budget, which comes from the Koch family foundations and other unknown sources, surged from $7 million in 2007 to $40 million in 2010 to $115 million in 2012. According to the Center for Public Integrity, Americans for Prosperity “spent a staggering $122 million [in 2012] as it unsuccessfully attempted to defeat President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats,” including $83 million on “communications, ads, and media.”
The merger of LIBRE into AFP is part of a larger strategy shift of the Kochs, who are moving away from spending on TV ads and other paid media to a much larger investment in grassroots operations designed to change hearts and minds on their core issues.
So, for those of you who thought that the Koch brothers might be stepping back from electoral politics, think again. Quite the contrary, they are cleverly evolving their methods in ways critical to their continued electoral power grab, so that they can continue their quest for a fully corporatized,“free-market,” poverty-waged America.
What can you do about that? For starters, let’s make sure everyone knows what these wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing groups, like LIBRE, really are. Calling out the Kochs’ sneaky tactics is the first line of defense in defeating them.