The Washington Post

The players in the Koch-backed $400 million political donor network

The Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics identified a coalition of allied conservative groups active in the 2012 elections that together raised at least $407 million, backed by a donor network organized by the industrialists Charles and David Koch. Most of the funds originated with two groups, the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and TC4 Trust, both of which routed some of the money through a Phoenix-based nonprofit group called the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR).

The makeup of the coalition may change going forward, but in 2012 the network consisted of:

Americans for Prosperity , the Virginia-based nonprofit that finances grass-roots activities across the country and ran an early and relentless television ad assault against President Obama during the 2012 campaign. More than $44 million of the $140 million the organization raised in the last cycle came from the Koch-linked feeder funds.

The 60 Plus Association , which casts itself as a conservative alternative to AARP. The group reported spending $4.6 million on ads against Obama and House Democrats in 2012.

American Commitment , a new group that reported spending nearly $1.9 million on spots attacking Obama and congressional Democrats in 2012 and that runs online petitions against the federal health-care law and in support of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Inside the Koch-backed political donor network

The American Energy Alliance , the 501(c)(4) arm of the Institute for Energy Research. The advocacy group, whose president is a former Koch Industries lobbyist, ran a 17-state bus tour in 2012 highlighting the benefits of domestic energy production. The organization got $2 million from Freedom Partners and CPPR in 2012 but has seen increased levels of support from other donors in recent years, according to a person familiar with its operations.

The American Future Fund , a Des Moines-based nonprofit that poured more than $25 million into ads against Obama and congressional Democrats in 2012. Nearly $63 million of its $68 million war chest in 2012 came from network feeder funds.

The Center for Shared Services , an organization in Alexandria that serves as a human resources hub for the network.

Concerned Veterans for America , which in 2012 held events spotlighting the unemployment rate among veterans and the difficulties members of the military face in casting ballots. The group was funded almost entirely by TC4 in 2012.

Concerned Women for America , a conservative Christian women’s activist group that received more than $8 million from Freedom Partners. The organization ran a social-media campaign and get-out-the-vote effort aimed at young women in 2012.

Evangchr4 Trust, a pastor outreach effort that gave nearly $1.2 million to CitizenLink, an advocacy arm of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family. CitizenLink spent more than $2.5 million on ads on behalf of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other Republicans in 2012.

Generation Opportunity , a nonprofit aimed at millennials that ran a national get-out-the-vote effort in 2012 emphasizing the unemployment rate among youths.

The Libre Initiative Trust , a Mission, Tex.-based group aimed at promoting “the principles and values of economic freedom” to Latinos. It started in 2011.

Public Engagement Group Trust, a low-profile nonprofit based in Arlington County that says its mission is to raise public awareness of issues such as government spending and free markets. It received nearly $3.5 million from Freedom Partners and TC4.

Public Notice , a policy nonprofit that highlights the impacts of government spending. Its executive director, Gretchen Hamel, was listed as a program leader for TC4 on the group’s first tax filing.

Themis Trust, which houses the data used by the groups in the network.

Matea Gold is a national political reporter for The Washington Post, covering money and influence.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
What to expect tonight
Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the state of drinking water in Flint, Mich. Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.