- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 5, 2019

Americans for Prosperity said Thursday it is mounting a six-figure advertising campaign against 15 members of Congress who voted in favor of extending the Export-Import Bank last month.

AFP, the political advocacy arm of the Koch network, will run newspaper, digital and direct mail ads labeling the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization a “boondoggle” that “costs taxpayers billions in corporate welfare subsidies.”

“We are calling out members of Congress who voted to give away billions of tax dollars to big business and special interests,” Russ Latino, AFP vice president of economic opportunity, said in a statement. “Ex-Im perpetuates the culture of cronyism and fraud that puts special interests ahead of hard-working Americans. Those members who voted in favor of financing risky taxpayer-backed loans for politically connected big businesses and wealthy foreign state-owned firms will be held accountable.”

The Ex-Im Bank is a credit agency created in the 1930s to finance international sales of U.S. products and services.

The bipartisan cadre of 15 representatives targeted by AFP include: Rep. Cindy Axne, Iowa Democrat; Rep. Sean Casten, Illinois Democrat; Rep. Joe Cunningham, South Carolina Democrat; Rep. Sharice Davids, Kansas Democrat; Rep. Abby Finkenauer, Iowa Democrat; Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania Republican; Rep. Sam Graves, Missouri Republican; Rep. Kendra Horn, Oklahoma Democrat; Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican; Rep. Billy Long, Missouri Republican; Rep. Ben McAdams, Utah Democrat; Rep. Lucy Kay McBath, Georgia Democrat; Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Florida Democrat; Rep. William Blaine Luetkemeyer, Missouri Republican; and Rep. Ann Wagner, Missouri Republican.

AFP’s new push is part of its multimillion-dollar advocacy campaign to “Unrig the economy” that the group has said will span several years. The newest effort comes after a June memo that said the group was looking to advocate more forcefully for “nonpartisan solutions,” as opposed to its more traditional support for Republicans.

AFP and the Koch network have undergone several changes recently, but still figure to factor mightily in the 2020 elections. David Koch, one-half of the Koch brothers duo, died in August at age 79. His influence and that of the Koch network are still having an impact on the early contours of several competitive 2020 campaigns.

Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC aligned with AFP, reported to the Federal Election Commission in November that it was spending nearly $230,000 in support of four Republican senators up for reelection next year: Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Cory Gardner of Colorado, David Perdue of Georgia, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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