Behind the curtain of the Koch operations: local campaign disclosures provide window on Koch campaigns (if you know where to look)

Charles and David Koch spent $960 million in the 2016 elections, mostly on campaigns attacking progressive candidates and causes.  But because much of that money flows through non-profits and PACs, their fingerprints are often hard to identify and their playbook is even harder to pin down. But thanks to some of the country’s most progressive campaign disclosure laws, their local Americans for Prosperity chapter disclosed their ads, scripts and spendings in recent local elections – if you know where to find it. Since ProgressNow New Mexico started in 2011 we’ve been tracking the influence of corporate-backed right-wing astroturf organizations who come into our state trying to influence our elections. The Koch Brothers and their affiliated organizations – Americans for Prosperity and the LIBRE Initiative – are some of the worst offenders. They do this in a variety of ways.

[WATCH] Sandoval County commission takes first steps to enact Koch anti-union law; right-to-work fights move from Roundhouse to counties

We reported earlier this year about the Koch Brothers and Americans For Prosperity and their meddling in ALL levels of New Mexico politics.

An update to the current situation of their involvement in things they shouldn’t be involved in shows that Sandoval County is the current target for a Right-To-Work ordinance to be forced onto New Mexican families. 

Late last week, the Sandoval County Commission held a heavily attended meeting about imposing a county level Right-To-Work ordinance.  Thursday night’s meeting was filled with supporters from Sandoval County at large, including Representative Damon Ely who spoke in opposition to Right-To-Work, emphasizing the educational opportunities and fair wages that unions provide in a state in dire need of these things.

Alan Webber Delivers a Call to Action

2014 gubernatorial candidate Alan Webber excited progressive passions during last year’s campaign, even though he didn’t receive the Democratic nomination. Alan Webber’s voice was a breath of fresh air on the New Mexico political scene and he represented quite a threat to Governor Martinez’s failed agenda (the onslaught of ads and opposition research deployed by the Martinez machine during the Democratic primary is evidence of that). Martinez knew Webber represented a strong, progressive threat to her policies and thus did everything she could to quell his campaign in the early stages. Even though Mr. Webber lost his primary battle, he’s only become more active in the political scene since last year. Below is a recent email he sent to his supporters informing them about legislative goings-on and offering his own analysis of the problems and solutions New Mexicans are facing.

NM GOP Copy-Pastes from Koch Playbook. Literally.

The latest RPNM email blast is a straight copy-paste of Koch’s opinion piece, illustrating how closely aligned the Republican Party (both national and state) is with the Koch Brothers’ ideals of unimpeded government de-regulation, the promotion of pseudo-science to justify continued dependence on dirty energy, and a maniacal obsession on gutting health care reforms (using lies and half-truths).

Koch Brothers are back in NM to teach Hispanics how to be Hispanic

The Koch brothers guide to being the right kind of Hispanic. Did you see this morning’s news?   New Mexico lost another 3,700 jobs in 2013. Those job losses were led by the government sector, including state government where Governor Martinez has been repeatedly criticized for failing to hire government workers and, instead, diverting salary dollars into special projects and budget surpluses. The state Department of Workforce Solutions reported Monday that the biggest losses state wide occurred in the government sector, which saw a net decrease of 3,200 jobs over the year. Among the industrial sectors losing jobs in the period were manufacturing, which lost 1,500 jobs, the professional and business services industry, down 1,100 jobs, and education and health services, which lost 1,000 jobs.

Koch Machine Still Running in NM

Last week, we broke national news that the Koch brother’s fake grassroots organization, Americans for Prosperity, was pulling out of New Mexico ahead of the state’s 2014 elections.  That’s good news for New Mexicans.  Even the conservative Rio Grande Foundation blogged about it, saying it was “bad news for conservatives and good news for left-wing liberals.”

But just because the Koch brothers are closing the doors on their fake grassroots operation doesn’t mean they are giving up their tried and true tactics of simply buying support the old fashioned way: with cash.  And they have lots of cash. (Forbes estimates they’re worth $36 billion each.)

All this got us thinking about how the Koch brothers first got really interested in buying New Mexico politics.  Answer: Allen Weh, the former NM Republican Party Chair and current Republican candidate for US Senate. It wasn’t until Weh was state Republican Party Chair that the Koch brothers gave their first big five-figure contribution to a New Mexico party or politician. Contributor
Recipient Name

Chemical & Related Manufacturing

Source:, Federal Election Commission Reports, 2008
Since then they’ve been giving more and more (click the table to enlarge):

Source: New Mexico Campaign Finance Information System (CFIS)
As you can see, the billionaire Koch brothers don’t just spend their money and attempt to exert political influence through the many tentacles of their fake-grassroots political organizations like AFP. (Another one their ersatz grassroots operations is trying to trick young people into believing their corporate conservative hype.) The Koch’s have an array of outlets from which they can funnel money into the campaigns and candidates that will advance their corporate bottom-line and their ultra-right agenda.

PNNM EXCLUSIVE: Koch Brothers to Shut Down NM Operations Ahead of 2014 Election

PNNM EXCLUSIVE: Koch Brothers to Shut Down NM Operations
Ahead of 2014 Election
[Jan 13, 6:45 am] Read and comment on this story at Huffington Post and HuffPo live here. [Jan 13, 11:44 am] The right-wing think tank “Rio Grande Foundation” agrees with us (that’s pretty big news, all by itself).  Here’s how the right-wing sees AFP’s NM abandonment:

Rio Grande Foundation: Let the wild, left-wing rumpus begin! Posted by Paul Gessing – January 13, 2014 –

Liberals and conservatives rarely agree on anything, but the fact that Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity is leaving New Mexico is bad news for conservatives and good news for left-wing liberals like George Soros. While this is unfortunate news for advocates of the free market and limited government throughout New Mexico, we at the Rio Grande Foundation aren’t going anywhere. We’ll continue to advocate for the free market and against the far-left agenda that has led New Mexico to the bottom in economic freedom and the top of so many bad lists when it comes to poverty, overall economic performance, and education.