Americans For Prosperity's Hagerstrom Refuses To Acknowledge Koch Brothers Funding


As Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was about to sign their union-busting right-to-work-for-less bills into law, Chris Matthews spoke to UAW President Bob King and the State Director of the Michigan chapter of Americans for Prosperity's Scott Hagerstrom. Matthews attempted to get Hagerstrom to come clean about who "signs his paycheck" and despite repeated badgering from Matthews, refused to acknowledge that AFP is just a front group for the Koch brothers.

He just works for a grass roots organization, like the Red Cross don't you know! And they have lots of donors. He didn't want to talk about their one big one though. Here's more on Hagerstrom and his remarks back in February of 2011 from Think Progress: Koch Front Group Americans For Prosperity: ‘Take The Unions Out At The Knees’:

In a speech earlier this month at the Conservative Political Action Committee’s annual conference, Americans For Prosperity-Michigan Executive Director Scott Hagerstrom revealed the true goal of his group and its allies like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) efforts. Speaking at CPAC’s “Panel for Labor Policy,” Hagerstrom said that AFP really wants to do is to “take the unions out at the knees”:

HAGERSTROM: It’s easy to go out there and fight taxes and increased regulation, you know we send out an action alert on taxes to AFP and we get thousands of people to respond. You send out one on a more complicated issue and it just doesn’t quite resonate…We fight these battles on taxes and regulation but really what we would like to see is to take the unions out at the knees so they don’t have the resources to fight these battles.

Taking “the unions out at the knees” has long been a goal of the Koch brothers and their many front groups. In the run-up to the 2010 elections, the Kochs worked with other anti-labor billionaires, corporations and activists to fund conservative candidates and groups across the country. Now after viciously opposing pro-middle class policies for years, Koch Industries is trying to eliminate the only organizations which serve as a counterweight to the well-oiled corporate machine.

Sadly they managed to succeed in that goal today in Michigan. Sourcewatch has more on Americans for Prosperity here and the fact that they are indeed just a front group for the Koch brothers here.

This interview has a bunch of right wing blogs worked up of course, the usual suspects that I'm not going to link to, calling Matthews "unhinged" and claiming he "berated" Hagerstrom because he asked him time and again who funds AFP. If they think this is Matthews coming "unhinged" they must not watch the show much, because this is pretty mild by his standards. There are times that stuff can be annoying out of him. This wasn't one of them.

The AFP chair was on there pretending he's got the interest of those workers in Michigan at heart and that they're just some grass roots organization instead of an AstroTurf front group who only care about a race to the bottom on wages so their rich donors can squeeze some more blood out of the working class.


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