John Colson
Post Independent staff

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June 26, 2013
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Sen. Mark Udall says he’s targeted by Koch brothers’ group

DENVER — U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., this week claimed he is being targeted for defeat by the national conservative organization, Americans For Prosperity (AFP), and called upon his Colorado supporters to help him win re-election in 2014.

In an email issued by Udall’s re-election organization on June 23, signed “Mark” at the bottom, Udall told voters, “For months I’ve been telling you to be ready for the oncoming rush of secret money from outside groups into Colorado. But, I didn’t think it would come so soon.”

The email informed recipients that the campaign has learned of a “AFP’s six-figure campaign to attack Democrats across the country. And I’m one of their top targets.” The AFP was founded and continues to be supported by billionaires Charles and David Koch, who live part-time in Aspen. It is a non-profit organization that, under IRS rules, is not required to divulge its donor list to the public.

A spokesman for AFP Colorado, Sean Paige, laughingly denied Udall’s accusations and said, “We’re not in the business of electing candidates” or opposing specific office holders or candidates.

Paige acknowledged that AFP recently “called him out” on his failure to vote against a carbon-tax proposal that was rejected by the Senate, 58-41.

According to Paige, Udall has seen his poll numbers falling lately, so “he had to call on us and play the Koch card.

Paige pointed out that his organization is not strictly a pro-Republican voice, noting that the AFP recently criticized House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio), for Boehner’s support for the recently defeated “farm bill,” which AFP opposed.

“I think his response is an overreaction,” Paige said.

By way of background in his fund-raising appeal, Udall credited AFP with playing “a major role in the 2010 GOP takeover of the House of Representatives,” and with spending “a staggering $33 million to try and boot President Barack Obama out of office” in 2012.

Udall’s assertions are in keeping with findings from the nonprofit group, OpenSecrets.org, which keeps track of political expenditures by parties, candidates and others.

According to a June 6 story by the online news organization, Raw Story, the AFP in early June announced plans to spend $175,000 to block legislation aimed at establishing carbon taxes on the energy industry, calling it the “first wave of a campaign against climate action,” and against the entire climate agenda of President Obama.

But the campaign did not mention Obama, according to Raw Story. Instead it named three Democratic Senators facing re-election in 2014 — Udall, Mark Begich of Alaska and Kay Hagen of North Carolina.

The AFP push is seen possibly as a response to an earlier ad campaign by Organizing For Action, a pro-Obama group set up to support the president’s climate agenda, according to Raw Story.

Udall’s message called the recently announced AFP campaign “a drop in the bucket” compared to the group’s earlier spending, and noted that the actual campaigning for 2014 has yet to begin.

But, he added, “They’re trying to soften me up” with a negative ad campaign designed to prompt questions in voters’ minds about Udall’s politics and his positions.

jcolson@postindependent.com

A spokesman for AFP Colorado, Sean Paige, laughingly denied Udall’s accusations and said, “We’re not in the business of electing candidates” or opposing specific office holders or candidates.


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The Summit Daily Updated Jun 26, 2013 01:23PM Published Jul 15, 2013 04:47PM Copyright 2013 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.