Lee Fang has documented how Americans for Prosperity and other right-wing astroturf groups are rewarding "volunteers" for their time and effort. The video above documents the gas giveaway, where there's not even a volunteer effort required to get $1.84 gas.
AFP is hosting events at gas stations across the country to provide gasoline to motorists for the price of $1.84 per gallon. The group is paying for up to fifteen gallons for 100–150 drivers at each station, telling them that the $1.84 price symbolizes the price per a gallon before Obama took office in 2009.
A CBS news affiliate in Iowa reports that at least one driver, Louis Lumpkin, said that the free gas would make a difference on his vote for president.
I'm going out on a limb here, but I tend to think that guy Louis might have already made his mind up before the cheap gas. But then I might put too much faith in people's ability to think for themselves, sometimes. As Fang points out, the whole thing is powered by the very people who actually do more to manipulate and drive gas prices up than any president ever could.
The way to an iPad, gift card, or other nifty goody is to phonebank for the billionaire of one's choice. There's plenty of billionaire largesse to go around. If you want to call Jewish voters for 50 hours, you can get a 32 GB ipad. That works out to about $14 per hour or so. The billionaires funding that giveaway are associated with the Republican Jewish Coalition, chaired by the likes of Sheldon Adelson.
Sheldon Adelson, of course, has a deep vested interest in seeing President Obama lose this election. If that were to happen, it's likely that Mitt Romney would have no option but to call off the DOJ investigation into Adelson's casino activities, including alleged money laundering and bribery.
One billionaire not often mentioned is Barre Seid, the uber-rich surge protector manufacturer who is widely believed to have distributed the anti-Islam (and anti-Obama) DVD sent to voters just before the 2008 general election. Seid has a foundation, but when he wants to fund political activity that might not be in line with his foundation's mission, it seems that he turns to Donors' Trust, the Koch-founded, Wisconsin-based anonymous donors fund.
Just last week, a scurrilous DVD was mailed to millions of voters in swing states. Of all the junk mailed out in this election, this was possibly the worst. "Dreams From My Real Father" alleges that Barack Obama's dead mother was a porn star and his father was really Frank Marshall Davis, a writer living in Hawaii who had links to the Communist Party. The entire narrative is based on Jerome Corsi's 2011 work of fiction marketed as fact. This isn't anything new for Corsi, whose lying days go back to the Swiftboat smear, and he's been the go-to for fantasy smears ever since.
The film's director is Joel Gilbert, principal at Highway 61 Entertainment. While his IMDB bio doesn't include this piece of information, Gilbert is also a contributing editor at FamilySecurityMatters.org, a member of the Frank Gaffney family of Islam-hating websites falling under the umbrella of his Center for Security Policy.
It isn't cheap to do a million-plus run of DVDs, package them, buy a mailing list, and send them out. It's fairly expensive, but someone paid whatever it took to not only produce this crappy movie, but actually send it out to people. We could point to lots of different players, from DeVos to Koch to Adelson to Seid and indeed, it may have been all of them pitching in. That is something we'll likely never know unless there's an actual audit of these bogus nonprofits and their billionaire funders.
But what is known may be enough. There is no low too low, no slime too deep to wallow in, nothing too dirty for these billionaires to spend money on. Whether it's buying favorable blog posts, iPads, or smear movies, they're willing to make that investment in order to hopefully achieve the return they expect: election of Willard Mitt Romney to the office of President of the United States.