Conservative Group Targets Liberal Billionaire Donor

The attacks mirror the Democrats’ strategy of taking on the Koch brothers.

Mark Udall during a Q&A session on April 20, 2010.
National Journal
Alex Roarty
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Alex Roarty
April 23, 2014, 8:11 a.m.

A con­ser­vat­ive out­side group is tak­ing a page from the Demo­crat­ic Party’s Koch broth­ers play­book, run­ning a new on­line ad in Col­or­ado ac­cus­ing Demo­crat­ic Sen. Mark Ud­all of kow­tow­ing to wealthy lib­er­al donor Tom Stey­er at the ex­pense of his con­stitu­ents.

The group, Amer­ic­an Com­mit­ment, ac­cuses Ud­all of be­ing bought off by the en­vir­on­ment­al­ist Stey­er, who has pledged to spend $100 mil­lion sup­port­ing Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates this fall. The ad says that the in­cum­bent Demo­crat won’t sup­port build­ing the Key­stone XL pipeline be­cause of his re­la­tion­ship with the wealthy lib­er­al.

“Call Mark Ud­all and tell him to put Col­or­ado ahead of his bil­lion­aire back­er and sup­port the Key­stone pipeline,” a nar­rat­or says.

The on­line ad buy is worth $40,000, ac­cord­ing to a spokes­man for Amer­ic­an Com­mit­ment, and is part of a lar­ger cam­paign from the group to link Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates with Stey­er. In March it re­leased a sim­il­ar on­line ad fea­tur­ing Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id.

In ef­fect, Amer­ic­an Com­mit­ment is try­ing to say that in polit­ics, turn­about is fair play. Demo­crats have fo­cused much of their mes­saging this year on Charles and Dav­id Koch, the bil­lion­aire in­dus­tri­al­ists whose polit­ic­al group, Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity, has in­ves­ted in tens of mil­lions of dol­lars mostly bash­ing Demo­crat­ic Sen­ate can­did­ates.

The strategy has eli­cited howls of protest from Re­pub­lic­ans, who call it an un­fair at­tack on two private cit­izens.

Amer­ic­an Com­mit­ment has pre­vi­ously de­clined to say wheth­er it re­ceives any money from the Koch broth­ers. 

What We're Following See More »
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
4 hours ago

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
5 hours ago

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
5 hours ago

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
9 hours ago

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

Obama Compares Peres to ‘Giants of the 20th Century’
9 hours ago

Speaking at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, President Obama "compared Peres to 'other giants of the 20th century' such as Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth who 'find no need to posture or traffic in what's popular in the moment.'" Among the 6,000 mourners at the service was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama called Abbas's presence a sign of the "unfinished business of peace" in the region.