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Messina Feud With Koch Brothers Escalates Messina Feud With Koch Brothers Escalates

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / campaign 2012

Messina Feud With Koch Brothers Escalates

photo of Sophie Quinton
February 29, 2012

Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina ramped up a war of words between the campaign and oil billionaires Charles and David Koch Wednesday, publishing a letter that criticizes the brothers' political agenda and frames the tea party group Americans For Prosperity as a front organization for their business interests.

"It is a cynical stretch to describe the political activities of your employers as furthering democracy when they are courting huge checks from special interest donors to pay for negative ads, with no public disclosure of the identity of those donors," Messina wrote to Phillip Ellender, who heads Koch Companies' public affairs arm. Messina added that many of those negative ads have been found to contain falsehoods.

"You argue that Americans for Prosperity is a grassroots organization of everyday citizens.  But its emphasis on rolling back environmental protections and blocking a clean-energy economy appears to be nothing more than an effort to promote the corporate interests of your employers and others who lavishly, and secretly, fund its operations," Messina wrote.

 

Messina's letter responds to a letter from Ellender, which in turn pushed back on a fundraising letter Obama for America sent out on Feb. 24 that criticized the Koch brothers' political agenda. In his letter, Ellender noted that Americans for Prosperity had many members and donors, and that the Koch brothers' opposition to Obama's policies was based on a principled opposition to the rising national debt and the expansion of government.

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