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.

Here’s How Workers Stand to Lose From the ‘Right-to-Work’ Agenda

The Rio Rancho Observer’s Antonio Sanchez ran a great article yesterday highlighting the ways New Mexico’s workers will be negatively impacted by controversial ‘right-to-work’ legislation currently moving through the New Mexico Legislature. The article comes as anti-worker proponents of such legislation have taken a beating over the last few weeks. We exposed the entire right-to-work scheme as a years-in-the-making political ploy early in this legislative session. Prominent academics have debunked the misleading claims used by RTW proponents in NM and have criticized the Rio Grande Foundation’s RTW study as having used “kindergarten math” to come to the pre-determined conclusions it did.  Huge protests against these kinds of bills have also broken out in Wisconsin recently, highlighting the national push back against the corporate pandering these bills aim for.

Emails show Rio Grande Foundation sought to fund fake report to bolster Republican agenda

A new review of secret campaign emails leaked from Susana Martinez’s campaign email accounts by former staffers located emails between the Rio Grande Foundation and Republican operatives looking for a “sugar daddy” to pay for a fake report and new narrative designed to “win all close elections” against Democrats “dumb” enough to oppose it. The Emails

On Thursday February 17, 2012 the Rio Grande Foundation’s Paul Gessing emails Republican lawyers Mickey Barnett and Duncan Scott along with former sheriff and failed congressional candidate turned Republican operative Darren White and the governor’s top political operative, Jay McCleskey “RE: Question and potential study”
More about the men in the email thread in this report. Gessing is fishing for funding to create a “study” to support a new push for right to work (for now, let’s set aside the problem of funding a “study” to reach a pre-determined conclusion):

The next day, Mickey Barnett responds:

“We need s sugar daddy willing to put up $$$ to push it. We can win all close elections if D is dumb enough to oppose.”
Read the full emails in this report. Who’s who in this email chain?

Who’s Who? The men behind the ‘sugar daddy’ emails

A new review of secret campaign emails leaked from Susana Martinez’s campaign email accounts by former staffers located emails between the Rio Grande Foundation and Republican operatives looking for a “sugar daddy” to pay for a fake report and new narrative designed to “win all close elections” against Democrats “dumb” enough to oppose it. The Emails

On Thursday February 17, 2012 the Rio Grande Foundation’s Paul Gessing emails Republican lawyers Mickey Barnett and Duncan Scott along with former sheriff and failed congressional candidate turned Republican operative Darren White and the governor’s top political operative, Jay McCleskey “RE: Question and potential study.” Gessing is fishing for funding to create a “study” to support a new push for right to work (for now, let’s set aside the problem of funding a “study” to reach a pre-determined conclusion).  And Mickey Barnet responds to Gessing and a who’s who of New Mexico Republican leaders and Susana Martinez operatives. Read the full emails and more about the plan at this post.

Leaked Emails: GOP leaders seek fake report to push right to work and ‘sugar daddy’ to fund it

Picture it: February 2012. New Mexico Republicans were almost to the end of a 30-day legislative session where their voting block had successfully defeated key Democratic sponsored legislation like a raise to the minimum wage. With three days left before the 2012 session adjourned, Democrats were whipping votes to pass their key legislation. But Republican operatives were already looking to define the next election and their agenda with a new campaign issue that would propel them to take over the House in 2014. A new review of secret campaign emails leaked from Susana Martinez’s campaign account by former staffers located emails between the Rio Grande Foundation and Republican operatives looking for a “sugar daddy” to pay for a fake report and new narrative designed to “win all close elections” against Democrats “dumb” enough to oppose it.

Duel in the Desert: Alan Webber and Paul Gessing Debate New Mexico’s Economy

Progressives say Susana Martinez has driven our economy into a ditch and has no plan to get us out.  Conservatives say she hasn’t done enough to role back regulations that suppress business growth. Who is right? Progressive entrepreneur Alan Webber took on the right-wing Rio Grande Foundation’s Paul Gessing in this sold out debate on New Mexico’s economy at the 300+ seat South Broadway Cultural Center in Albuquerque on September 8, 2014. Watch and judge for yourself.

Alan Webber is taking on the Koch-backed Rio Grande Foundation in a debate – and you can join us

The Koch brothers-funded Rio Grande Foundation is in the business to promote ALEC messaging that promotes policies putting big business profits before working families.  So its no surprise that they are pretty impressed with Susana Martinez’s economic record. We have to disagree, and thankfully so does our friend Alan Webber. Alan and the Rio Grande Foundation’s Paul Gessing have been debating each other on the op-ed pages of the Albuquerque Journal for months (see below).   Now they are debating in person – and Alan has generously decided to help out ProgressNowNM in the process.

Doh! ALEC says Martinez-era econ. policies hurt NM economy

How’s that economic recovery plan going, governor? When she was elected in 2010, Martinez promised that her plan to slash corporate income taxes and reduce government services was the plan to expand our private sector and propel New Mexico’s lagging economy far ahead of other states. Three years later, even her supporters are admitting the obvious: the Martinez recovery plan is a bust. First, in 2012 we saw corporate CEO’s drop New Mexico’s ranking in the Best/Worst places to do business. Then, a national business publication ranked Susana Martinez among the worst governors in the country for private sector job growth.