Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a libertarian-leaning conservative political advocacy funded by Charles Koch. It is one of the most influential American conservative organizations in the U.S. As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, they don’t officially endorse or donate to candidates. Their sub-group AFP Action is not tax-exempt, so they are free to endorse and donate. Both groups represent the viewpoint of their mega-donor Charles Koch; on Sunday, Feb. 5, without mentioning him by name, Americans for Prosperity threw down the gauntlet at the feet of former president Donald Trump. AFP published a letter saying American voters believe it’s time to move on. As AFP and Koch move away from Trump, many other big-money donors may follow.
In this letter to AFP members (and released to the public), CEO Emily Seidel said the organization will get involved in primaries, something it rarely does. AFP sees the need to prevent the nomination of bad candidates who can’t win and believes American voters want to move on from the past:
(…) the loudest voice in each political party sets the tone for the entire election. In a presidential year, that’s the presidential candidate.
And to write a new chapter for our country, we need to turn the page on the past. So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter. The American people have shown that they’re ready to move on, and so AFP will help them do that
It looks like the Democrats have already chosen their path for the presidential – so there’s no opportunity to have a positive impact there.But AFP Action is prepared to support a candidate in the Republican presidential primary who can lead our country forward and who can win.”
The quote above indicates AFP Action is prepared to throw its money behind a single GOP primary candidate—and they have significant money.
The letter says that AFP Action will be working to improve turnout in primary elections. Based on the strategy outlined in the letter, AFP Action will work to turn out the voters who support their favorite candidate.
Emily Seidel’s AFP letter is not a major surprise. Especially toward the end of Trump’s term, they issued press releases disagreeing with what they called his “legislating by executive order.” They obviously disagree with that kind of action as a libertarian-leaning conservative organization.
It’s early, but something tells me that this presidential election season is going to be very interesting.