Jim MessinaLast week, President Obama’s reelection campaign manager Jim Messina sent a fundraising letter to Obama’s supporters targeted at Mitt Romney. The letter stated that Romney was scheduled to speak to Americans for Prosperity -- a group that Mr. Messina claimed was funded by the billionaire Koch brothers -- and could everyone please chip a little to the Two Term Fund? Also in the letter was a claim that the Kochs make millions by jacking up prices at the pump, that they bankroll Tea Party extremism, and are committed to ‘destroying’ Barack Obama.
Side note: Where is all of this Tea Party funding I’ve heard about for the last three years? I’ve been actively involved with the movement, and I have yet to receive a single check from the Koch brothers.
Without wasting any time, Philip Ellender, President of Government & Public Affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector, fired back at Mr. Messina and smacked down the blatant falsehoods in his ‘irresponsible and misleading letter.’
First Mr. Ellender reminds Messina that the Kochs own no gas stations, only oil and gas refineries, which actually lower the cost of gas by increasing supply. This might be my favorite part of the letter: “Either you simply misunderstand the way commodities markets work or you are misleading your supporters and the rest of the American people.”
Well, Mr. Messina? Which is it?
Then he addressed the idea that the Kochs fund Americans for Prosperity and Tea Party extremism. I’ve actually done some work for AFP, and not once have a received a check from Charles or David Koch. Yes, the Kochs do donate some to the foundation, but nearly as much as they do to arts, science, and educational organizations, and no one is claiming that they fund any of those activities. AFP is supported by “tens of thousands of members and contributors from across the country and from all walks of life.”
Ellender goes on to say that this sort of personal attack does not behoove the Office of the President, and it is a “disservice to our nation for the President and his campaign to criticize private citizens simply for the act of engaging in their constitutional right of free speech about important matters of public policy.”
The Kochs have been fighting against government oppression for a half a century, regardless of whether a Republican or Democrat was in office. They are libertarians, and believe strongly in the rights of individuals to make their own decisions in their homes and in the marketplace.
Barack Obama and Jim Messina better come up with better tactics than easily disprovable misinformation if they want to win reelection this fall. Because right now I’m paying $4 a gallon for gas, and it isn’t the Koch brothers halting drilling in the Gulf or blocking the Keystone pipeline. That’s President Obama’s doing.
Image via Fighting For Our Health/Flickr