It has been quite some time since the so-called Koch brothers have helped out any Libertarian Party branded candidates or parties; however, today North Carolina residents are seeing fun, pro-legalization ads by American Future Fund (AFF). The commercials aim to help Libertarian Party U.S. Senate candidate Sean Haugh in his race against a Republican and a Democrat. Haugh gained fame on his own with his own quirky and effective YouTube commercials.
AFF is an Iowa-based tax-exempt organization that is largely supported by David and Charles Koch, though AFF would not confirm if David or Charles Koch are specifically behind the ads. The Koch brothers have not donated to Libertarian Party branded candidates or parties since the early 1980s. What is interesting about their new found support of Haugh is, they also have supported one of his opponents, Thom Tillis – though more directly. The Koch brothers have long been supporters of medical marijuana legalization, ending unnecessary wars, helping to fund legal defense for the poor, are staunch supporters of free speech (even when hate speech is directed at them), as well as given well over $1 billion to medical research and other private charities.
The new ads which are running today, support Haugh’s candidacy by trying to get to the youth vote and the left-leaning independent vote with slogans like “Get Haugh, get high” and describing incumbent opponent Senator Kay Hagan as “out of touch.” The ads portray Hagan are a war-loving, pot-hating old lady and give Haugh an air of cool. Tillis is not mentioned in any of the ads. AFF had initially planned to spend $225,000 on the ad campaign; however, is now considering doubling it.
While the Republican Koch brothers are often demonized as influencing the political process with their billions of dollars, it is the Democrats who are outspending and out influencing Republicans in the political ad wars. Democrat Harry Reid took to the Senate floor earlier this year to demean the Koch brothers by saying, “It’s too bad that they’re trying to buy America, and it’s time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers who are about as un-American as anyone I can imagine.” Yet, it was actually Reid and other liberal groups who are doing more to “buy America” than the Koch brothers or Republican-led groups. During Reid’s speeches against the Koch brothers, he fails to discuss the billionaires working to influence elections and issues on the liberal side of the political spectrum – let alone call them “un-American.”
So, what does Haugh think about AFF’s ads and the Koch brothers? He recently tweeted, “While I appreciate the support, I now have a whole new reason to despise Koch brothers & their dark money.”