Koch-backed group targets red-state Dems on tax reform

The fiscally conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity is putting millions of dollars behind an ad-buy pressuring red-state Democrats up for reelection in 2018 to support the GOP’s tax reform proposals.

Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by billionaire Republican donors Charles and David Koch, has purchased $4.5 million of air time in three states, calling on Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma —Senate debates highlight fight over pre-existing conditions | Support grows for Utah Medicaid expansion measure | Arkansas health official defends work requirements McCaskill campaign says ‘intern’ who filmed campaign had access to voter data MORE (Mo.), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinObama to campaign for Dems in Wisconsin Treasury sets politics aside, admits China isn't a currency manipulator Hillicon Valley: Facebook deletes accounts for political 'spam' | Leaked research shows Google's struggles with online free speech | Trump's praise for North Korea complicates cyber deterrence | Senators want Google memo on privacy bug MORE (Wis.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign Donnelly parodies 'Veep' in new campaign ad MORE (Ind.) to support a tax code overhaul.

All three senators face reelection next year in states won by President Trump.

“People are sick of politics. I am too,” the narrator says in the video. “But fixing our broken tax system isn’t about politics — it’s about helping people. It means the powerful, the well-connected, politicians — they’ll stop benefiting from a rigged system. It means average Americans will have more to spend on what’s important to them. That’s what tax reform will do. So, what’s stopping us?”


The ads close out by naming the three senators and accusing them of “standing in the way of a simple, fair system.” They provide a phone number for viewers to call the individual Senate offices.

The group has been working closely with the White House to shape and sell the GOP’s tax reform proposals.

Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips has been a frequent guest at the White House in recent weeks as the administration plots the best way forward. 

The group has put about $8 million behind its tax reform efforts this year.

They also say they hosted 70 town halls in August and September, drawing in some 15,000 people. And Americans for Prosperity says it has knocked on tens of thousands of doors in the 36 states where it is up and running.

The White House, meanwhile, intends to direct heavy resources at tax reform before the end of the year in hopes of achieving its first major legislative victory.

Vice President Pence has been traveling to swing states Trump won in 2016, such as Michigan and Indiana, to push the plan.

Donnelly appeared at the event in Indiana, and conservatives are hopeful that other red-state Democrats facing reelection will get on board.