In his continued condemnation of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United campaign finance ruling, President Obama once again suggested Thursday that the national grassroots organization Americans for Prosperity may be just a front organization covering up big corporations and foreign interests threatening American democracy–a claim the conservative group has vehemently denied.
During a town hall-style event with young voters hosted by MTV, the president was asked about the tea party’s validity. “They have every right and obligation as citizens to be involved in this process,” the president said. However, he noted that “there is an awful lot of corporate money being poured into these elections right now,” being spent on negative campaign ads
“If you’re in a battleground state right now, you are being bombarded with negative ads every single day and nobody knows who’s paying for these ads. They’ve got these names like ‘Americans for Prosperity,’ or ‘Moms for Motherhood.’ Actually, that last one I made up,” he laughed. “They’ve got these innocuous-sounding names and we don’t know where this money’s coming from. I think that is a problem for democracy,” he concluded, suggesting that the groups might be Big Oil or Big Insurance companies unhappy with federal regulations on their industries.
This isn’t the first time the commander-in-chief referenced AFP, a group that boasts 1.6 million members across the country. Obama specifically engaged in a similar attack on the group in early August during a DNC fundraiser in Austin, Texas:
Right now all around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates all across the country. And they don’t have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don’t know if it’s a big oil company, or a big bank. You don’t know if it’s a insurance company that wants to see some of the provisions in health reform repealed because it’s good for their bottom line, even if it’s not good for the American people.
A Supreme Court decision allowed this to happen. And we tried to fix it, just by saying disclose what’s going on, and making sure that foreign companies can’t influence our elections. Seemed pretty straightforward. The other side said no.
They don’t want you to know who the Americans for Prosperity are, because they’re thinking about the next election. But we’ve got to think about future generations. We’ve got to make sure that we’re fighting for reform. We’ve got to make sure that we don’t have a corporate takeover of our democracy.
On October 12: “And one of the most frustrating things is that these ads, when they run, the names of these groups are all really innocuous sounding, right? There’s Americans For Prosperity and Moms For Motherhood. I made that one up. (Laughter.) But you get the idea.”
On October 7: “They’ve got these innocuous-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, or the Committee for Truth in Politics. (Laughter.) Or Moms for Motherhood. (Laughter.) I made that last one up. (Laughter.) But you wouldn’t know. (Laughter.)”
Again on October 7: “It could be the oil companies. It could be the insurance industry. It could be Wall Street. You don’t know. Their lips are sealed. The floodgates are open, though. And almost every one of these independent organizations is run by Republican operatives. They’re posing as nonprofit, non-political groups. They’ve got names like “Americans for Prosperity,” or the “Committee for Truth in Politics,” or Moms for Motherhood. Actually, the last one I made up. (Laughter.)”
On October 1: “They have these innocuous names like “Americans for Prosperity,” or “Americans for Apple Pie.” (Laughter.) “Moms for Motherhood.” And you look back, and it’s like the Wizard of Oz — you look behind the curtain and there’s some Republican operative, and it’s insurance companies or the banks or all the folks that were fighting change.”
On September 28: “You’ve all seen the ads. Every one of these groups is run by Republican operatives. Every single one of them — even though they’re posing as nonprofit groups with names like Americans for Prosperity, or the Committee for Truth in Politics, or Americans for Apple Pie. (Laughter.) I made that last one up. (Laughter.)”
On September 22: “Millions of dollars being spent by groups with harmless-sounding names, Americans for Prosperity, the Committee for Truth in Politics, or Moms for Motherhood. (Laughter.) I made that last one up. (Laughter.) But they pose as non-for-profit, social welfare and trade groups. Every single one of them, virtually, is guided by seasoned, Republican political operatives. None of them will disclose who is paying for these ads. They are spending tens of millions of dollars against Democratic candidates without telling the American people where that flood of money is coming from. You don’t know if it’s coming from big oil or insurance companies. You don’t even know if it’s coming from a foreign-controlled corporation.”
On September 20: “That’s the biggest problem that we have all across the country right now. We’ve got great candidates who are taking their case directly to the American people, but they are being drowned out by groups like Americans for Prosperity. Nobody knows who they are. Well, we know who they are — but nobody knows where the money is coming from, and they certainly don’t appear on those ads.”
Again on September 20: “They’re doing it right here in Pennsylvania — millions of dollars being spent. And the names always sound very benign — it’s Americans for Prosperity, Committee for Truth in Politics, Americans for Apple Pie. (Laughter.) I made that last one up. (Laughter.) None of them will disclose who is paying for these ads. You don’t know whether it’s some big financial interest; you don’t know if it’s a big oil company or an insurance company. You don’t even know if it’s foreign controlled.”
On September 16: “Millions of dollars. And the groups are benign-sounding: Americans for Prosperity. Who’s against that? (Laughter.) Or Committee for Truth in Politics. Or Americans for Apple Pie. Moms for Motherhood. I made those last two up. (Laughter.) None of them will disclose who’s paying for these ads. You don’t know if it’s a Wall Street bank. You don’t know if it’s a big oil company. You don’t know if it’s an insurance company. You don’t even know if it’s a foreign-controlled entity.”
The Obama White House and congressional Democrats have been making these claims for more than a month now and, despite the media pointing out there’s not a shred of evidence to back them up, they continue to wrongfully accuse groups like AFP — and, more recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — of having shadowy foreign donors.
Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity has dismissed the President’s remarks as “shrill, desperate attacks.”
The President is losing on the issues. Americans continue to be disenchanted with Obamacare, his uncontrolled spending habits, and vain attempts to pass an energy tax. This is why thousands of new activists continue to join Americans for Prosperity every day. President Obama can continue his attacks but that won’t change the fact that November is coming.